Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air

Christopher J. Oglesby

It has often been said that there must be something to account for the fact that so many literate songwriters hail from West Texas. The area around Lubbock has produced quite an array of musicians and songwriters, from Buddy Holly to Terry Allen, Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Natalie Maines. Oglesby interviews 27 who have ties to Lubbock. The answers are not single-minded: Ely suggests there’s something about a seemingly limitless horizon that engenders a desire to fill the void, while Gilmore says it’s pretty much luck or something you can’t quite put your finger on. The interviews do cohere around ideas of a community of venues, such as Stubbs Barbecue, and just what it takes to create art in an isolated and often inhospitable environment.