The Dave Alvin/Blasters 2009 Tour Issue

(Latest News Continued) - In issue #49 it was reported that 'The Mystery of Everett Ruess' was solved when his body was found. In October, the Ruess family got a second opinion from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Rockville, Md. They concluded a recovered lower jawbone was characteristic of an American Indian's, not a man of European descent. It's not known whose remains were actually found. University of Colorado biologist Kenneth Krauter, who handled the initial DNA tests, said he did a second round of tests that disproved his original results, but wasn't able to determine how he made a mistake in the first place. He called the Armed Forces results definitive. Dave Alvin has resumed performing his song EVERETT RUESS and says: "He is still out there somewhere."  --AM

Blasters Holland & Belgium tour--June 2009

this to our compadre Amy Farris." The band played a very short but inspired set different from the Mystic Theater - this was a festival crowd - not like the hard core Dave fans of the previous night.
When the tour was over, Dave reflected not only on the loss of Amy as a friend but as a band leader losing a member to suicide: "I've never had to deal with something like this inside of a band. This is sad but I did this (band project) to try and get over Chris. And it was working. And then this happens."
With Amy's memory close to everyone's heart, Dave assures us the Guilty Women will continue. They plan to get together in Texas in early 2010 to regroup for some rehearsals. Next, Dave will plan more touring and another album to follow in late 2010 or 2011.

Donations can be made in Amy Farris' name to her favorite charity
Check out Amy Farris' only solo album entitled Anyway on Yep Roc records produced by Dave Alvin.

From The Editor:  The Blasters newsletter is in its 17th year, and is still going strong. As I mentioned in the last issue, I have discontinued the print edition /snail mail version of the BlastersNewsletter. The web version on will continue and now you can print it out off the web site for free.
Printing, stapling, folding, sealing, and mailing is a lot of work - harder than the actual writing of the newsletter -  and less fun. It has come to my attention that most people who receive the snail mail version also read it on-line anyway. So those reasons brought me to this decision.
Anyone who currently has a paid subscription, will still receive those issues until it is filled. If there is anyone who has a special situation, like not owning a computer, or special circumstances, etc. . . then write to me and I will try to accommodate you.     -- Have A Blast --   Billy Davis

AMERICAN  MUSIC: The Blasters / Dave Alvin newsletter
editor/writer: Billy Davis      editorial assistant: Craig Frischkorn   contributing writer Tom Wilk
Publishing 4 issues quarterly.
American Music, PO BOX 210071, Woodhaven, NY 11421

Dave Alvin exclusive digital download tracks discography Part 2

In summer of 2007, Dave Alvin launched It opened up opportunities for Dave to further reach out to his fans. He began releasing exclusive bonus songs available only on the internet. It was Announced: "Throughout his career, Dave Alvin has periodically paid tribute to songwriters/performers that have inspired him by recording his favorite songs by these artists. Dave has many of these and other self penned gems hidden away in his personal archives. He is happy to now have the opportunity to make some of these tracks available to you exclusively through and To accompany each song's release, Dave has a few words for us about why he felt compelled to record it.."
Starting in American Music #54 (August 2007) Part 1 of this discography appeared for the first group of songs he released: PEACE, and HIGHWAY 61. Here is part 2 of Dave's descriptions of the exclusive tracks available  on his website:

Dave Alvin - "Mobile Blue"                  Release: October 2007
Sometimes people argue over who is the greatest living songwriter or who is the greatest male or female songwriter or who is the greatest songwriter in Texas, Nashville, New York, California or wherever. Usually the songwriters that these people bestow the "greatest" title on is whomever is the current critical darling songwriter of the week. And they may very be right, I don't know. I always abstain from these kinds of discussions because songwriting ain't baseball or football. Songwriting can't be discussed in those black and white terms for many reasons. One of the reasons is that there are too many fantastic unknown or little appreciated songwriters throughout music history who I think are as good or even better than many of the names I often hear mentioned.
For example: Mickey Newbury. A case could easily be made that he was as responsible as anyone for the golden era of country songwriting in the 1960's and 70's. Some of his songs were quasi-autobiographical heartbreakers while others were beautifully sketched narrative ballads but almost all are as good as anything written by anyone anywhere anytime.
John Prine said that "Mickey Newbury is probably the best songwriter ever." Kris Kristofferson said, "God, I learned more about songwriting from Mickey than I did from any other single human being." You can't argue with those guys.
You may have never heard of Mickey Newbury but you certainly heard his songs. They've been covered by (a very short list): Elvis, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Tom Jones, Dottie West, Jerry Garcia, Etta James, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Phish, Joan Baez, Buddy Rich, Keith Richards and, even, Engelbert Humperdinck. An extremely impressive list of admirers. I highly recommend any of his albums if you want to hear a master at work.
The Newbury song I recorded, "Mobile Blue," is from his classic concept album,
Frisco Mabel Joy. It was cut as part of a tribute CD to Frisco Mabel Joy and Newbury that was put together by No Depression's Peter Blackstock a few years back that deserved more attention than it received. The track was recorded in 2000 at the sessions for my Public Domain CD and features Rick Shea on the biting electric guitar, Joe Terry on the pumping piano, Bobby Lloyd Hicks slapping the skins, Brantley Kearns on the swinging fiddle and former Rodger Miller/Hoyt Axton/Dillard and Clark/Jackson Browne bassist, David Jackson thumping the stand up bass. The backwards guitar intro is by jazz guitar innovator Bill Frizzell.      - Dave Alvin

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men - "Variations on Earl's Rumba"     Release: November 2007
"Variations on Earl's Rumba"  is The Guilty Men's tribute to one of our favorite guitarists, Earl Hooker. He's a legend among blues musicians, for peerless technique, his clean slide guitar style as well as his fluid single string picking (his playing is also respected outside the blues community - master Celtic/Folk/Rock guitarist Richard Thompson told me that Earl Hooker was one of his favorite guitarists - Now, that's high praise!). From his earliest recordings at Sun Records, through the many tracks he cut for King, Chess, Argo, Checker, Chief, Arhoolie, Blue Thumb, both as a solo artist and as sideman (for Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells, Charles Brown and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee to name a few), Earl Hooker displayed how he was, in writer Bill Dahl's words, "an endlessly inventive fountain of ideas that other guitarists drank from regularly." He could also bring his hard blues chops to jazz, country and, as his original version of the instrumental (guitar rumba) shows, latin music. Unfortunately, Earl Hooker died too young and never got the kind of "guitar God" acknowledgement he rightly deserved.   - Dave Alvin

Dave Alvin and Chris Gaffney - "Two Lucky Bums"         Release: December 2007
Written by Dave Alvin    Performed by Dave Alvin & Chris Gaffney
Out in the lonely, high desert plains of New Mexico is a tiny, semi abandoned town called Cuervo. Fifteen or twenty mostly dilapidated buildings made of rock, adobe and wood. My best guess is that they were built around one hundred years ago but they could be much older. In their current state the buildings appear not to have been constructed by human hands but to have risen out of the surrounding sand, rock and chaparral landscape under their own power. That's about all I know about Cuervo.

Now, what does Cuervo have to do with "Two Lucky Bums", a duet that I wrote for myself and my best pal, Chris Gaffney (from the Hacienda Brothers)? Well, for many years after Gaffney and I first stumbled on to

Cuervo late one night while on tour, he and I have fantasized about buying the quasi ghost town and moving there, dragging all our other friends along with us. Of course we don't have the cash to do it but it's a nice little dream for a couple of musician/bums. We've spent more than a few hours on various highways and continents making wildly improbable plans for our small desert paradise. Whenever we're driving near Cuervo, we always stop and say something wistful along the lines of, "Someday, Gaffney" or "Someday, Alvin." Eventually I figured if we ever did find ourselves in the unlikely position of possessing Cuervo, that the potentially ludicrous experience would probably be like an old Bing Crosby and Bob Hope "road" movie. The Road To Cuervo, I guess. And that movie would need some songs so I'd better write some. "Two Lucky Bums" might just be the theme song.

The song is a bit different for Gaffney and me. I've always been a fan of Crosby's laid back vocals and also a fan of the great 1930's and 40's pop songwriters but I have never attempted writing anything in that swing/pop style but I figured, "What the Hell?" I guess it's a tribute of sorts to Crosby, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer, etc. Beside singing with me, Chris plays some sweet, accordion licks while I strum some rudimentary 40's jazz guitar. Craig Parker Adams did his usual superb recording job at his Winslow Court Studio in Los Angeles and our buddy Kurt Mahoney took the photograph. Gaffney and I had a real gas recording "Two Lucky Bums" and I sincerely hope you get a kick out of it. Until we meet again, see you in Cuervo.  - Dave Alvin

Chris Gaffney, Dave Alvin, and The Gene Taylor Blues band - "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights"
                           Release: March 2008
This month's song is very, very special for me. Last December, Chris Gaffney joined me on stage with The Gene Taylor Blues Band and sang Earl King's classic 1955 blues ballad, "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights." As great as Earl King's original recording is, Chris and I have always loved the version by Johnny "Guitar" Watson also cut in '55. Besides a typically passionate vocal, Watson's version features one of my favorite guitar solos of all time - as simple and effective as a Zen haiku or a punch in the face (I try to replicate Watson's furious, one note attack in the first chorus of my solo before heading off in my own direction). Needless to say, Chris sings the hell out of it. As some of you who are fans of his solo recordings and his CDs with The Hacienda Brothers already know, Chris is one of contemporary roots music's greatest singers. Whether the song is country, soul, blues, rock and roll, norteno or even Sinatra pop, Chris delivers the musical and emotional goods like few others can these days.

All this brings me to some very sad news. My best friend Chris Gaffney is seriously ill and requires some costly medical treatments. Unfortunately, most of us understand the tough financial reality of the health industry these days and know that every little bit helps in paying the various bills. To help Chris cover his medical expenses, his family has put together a website where all of his friends and fans around the world can donate to the Gaffney cause. The webpage will be up and running in the next week or so, as soon as the doctors give his family an estimate of what his treatments will cost. Please check back at my website,, in the next week or so in order to be directed to the family webpage. You'll be able to make a donation there through Pay Pal as well leave get well messages for Chris and get updates on his situation. I know times are tough for just about everyone right now, but any contribution you can make would be deeply and sincerely appreciated by Chris, his family and me.

Our version of "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights" with Gaffney is another outtake from the upcoming Gene Taylor Blues Band live CD, and whatever income is generated from the downloads of this recording will be going directly into the Gaffney medical fund. I'd like to thank the members of The Gene Taylor Blues Band (Gene the piano monster, bass specialist John Bazz and drum deity Bill Bateman), genius recording engineer Mark Linett, visionary executive producer Hudson Marquez and the good folks at Yep Roc for their generosity and help in making this possible.    Get well brother Chris. I'll see you in Cuervo!
- Dave Alvin, March 17, 2008

These digital singles are available for download on in the Yep Roc Web Shop for just $0.99.