|KERRVILLE TENTH ANNIVERSARY
|Quiet Valley Ranch
|May 27 – June
|20” X 26”
(50.8cm X 66.04cm)
The venerable Kerrville Folk Festival,
now entering its fourth decade, celebrated its 10th
anniversary back in 1981. Measuring 20 X 26, it is
not a standard-size cut. Ordinarily when standard-size
stock doubles in size, it does so on every other side
with each increase. For instance, typewriter paper is
8.5 X 11; when it doubles, it does so on the width
aspect to 11 X 17 (which BTW, the size of most Austin
music posters). Next doubling is on the height aspect,
to 17 X 22, and so on. Done in pen-and-ink and oil
crayon, it was a two-color print, black and medium brown.
The title has a 50% brown printed over, while the main
graphic is a duotone a double printing of the same
image, in this case black and brown. It shows a woman
musician, modeled after a Mary Pickford movie still photo,
holding a guitar, enthralled by what she is
hearing from a songbird perched on a blossomed branch.
For the guitar, I used an image of a guitar made by
Ken Hogue, a luthier who rented space in the same building
as Sheauxnough Studios, my art lair of the time his
logo is on the head.
For over thirty years as the Texas spring
slides into the endless Texas summer, The Kerrville
Folk Festival has filled the small river valley
southwest of Kerrville, Texas with some of the best music
to be heard anywhere and in a setting appropriate –
a gentle nook of the high Texas Hill Country. This particular
nook is situated a beautiful valley of a tributary of the
Guadalupe, chiseled from the limestone formed on the bottom
of an ancient ocean. Pin oaks and junipers along with Spanish
daggers constitute most of the foliage that textures the landscape,
with willows, pecans and cottonwoods crowding the water sources.
Within the natural trough of the valley, it is a quiet place;
a perfect place to enjoy – and create music. This is
where the music took root in 1972. And this is where it blossoms
each year when May becomes June.
Quiet Valley Ranch has stirred and
come alive each spring since then and by the time Memorial
Day affords the opportunity to travel to this remote part
of the state, the people return in ever greater numbers; as
if on pilgrimage. The air is alive with music and filled with
the scents of all that is both primal and exotic within it.
Conceived and created by Rod Kennedy, the
festival draws artist and participant alike to the valley
to what only can be described as a musical and cultural communion
within the limestone cathedral of the valley. They come from
all over the world for a unique event and a feast of song
that is never limited by the genre in its title. This piece
celebrates the first decade of the festivals and the incredible
music born of it. Here is a partial list of the musicians
who played: Tom Paxton, B.W. Stevenson, Allen Fotenot,
Juke Boy Bonner, Twelve Moon Storytellers, Odetta, Harmonica
Frank Floyd, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Spider John Koerner,
Nanci Griffith, Mance Lipscomb, Eliza Gilkyson and Mary McCaslin.
From Austin alone, came: Jubal Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lucinda
Williams, Rich Minus, Joe Ely, Plum Nelly, Kenneth Threadgill,
Townes Van Zandt, and Willie Nelson.
Shawn Colvin, an Austin resident now, made
her debut at Kerrville.
When the music ends around midnight, the music just begins.
As everyone filters back to their campsites, while the music
is fresh and newfound spirit animates being itself. With the
main stage darkened a vast constellation of smaller stages
bloom across the sea of campers and tents. The gravity of
the campfires accretes assemblies of artists and appreciators
woven together by song. Changing combinations and permutations
of players bring forth musical material every bit as varied.
This is how the days and nights are passed.