It’s hard to define a legend – other words such as myth, fairy tale, fabled, and storied are often used to describe a personality whose art and personality can overshadow the real man. Texas is filled with such characters, and one such individual is the late Blaze Foley.
Born in a treehouse, killed in a friend’s living room and 86′d from his own funeral, Blaze Foley is now a bona fide Texas legend. His heartfelt, funny and political songs have been covered by Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Lyle Lovett, Joe Nichols and in concert by rockers Kings of Leon.
Two new works have just been released celebrating this underground hero.
Multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Gurf Morlix has been a major thread in the fabric of American roots music for more than 20 years, but before he was a recognized name on the scene for his work with such folks as Lucinda Williams, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Slaid Cleaves, Buddy and Julie Miller, and Mary Gauthier, Morlix hung, played and performed with the Austin-based Foley. Morlix has just released a 15-song cover CD of Blaze’s songs, “Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream.”
The other is the new documentary, “Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah,” from Austin filmmaker Kevin Triplett. Twelve years in the making, the film offers an intimate portrait of an artist who struggled for recognition and died defending an elderly friend.
Oklahoma fans can view the new documentary “Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah” and hear Morlix perform a set of Foley’s songs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Blue Door, 2805 N McKinley. Information: 524-0738 or www.bluedoorokc.com.
A few years ago, Gurf wrote in the liner notes to a European Blaze tribute CD, “Blaze Foley – soulful, passionate singer songwriter. Champion of the downtrodden. Friend of the working girl. Truth seeker. Atmospheric disturbance. Tender caring person with a big ol’ bag of deep-rooted troubles stuffed down into one of his pockets. Blaze could cut right through the bulls—, or he could be the cause of it. The funniest person I ever met, and also the most tragic.”
Blaze, a colorful, but flawed character, was shot to death in 1989 at the age of 39. But Morlix and Triplett know that Blaze’s honest, heartfelt words will resonate with today’s audience. Blaze is finally having the career he wanted.