Talking to Keith Gattis last night was pretty mind blowing.
I know a lot of songwriters. I am one. Songwriter friends, try saying the following sentence out loud and see how it feels:
“It’s been kind of a slow year- so far, I’ve had four cuts by George Strait, one by Willie Nelson, and one by Randy Travis.”
Feels good, doesn’t it? For those of you who, like me, have kinda wished for a major artist to record one of your songs… or, like others, have actually tried for decades to make such an event occur… well, it’s mind-blowing.
Add in a new wife and a gorgeous baby daughter (he showed pics on his phone) and it’s no wonder Keith is smiling.
He’s also starred at the Grand Ol’ Opry, played guitar for Dwight Yoakum, had hit records of his own and written hits for many other country stars. He produces albums in his Nashville studio. He’s got a new CD coming out soon. Tours will follow.
For fun, Keith comes to Terlingua and plays guitar with the locals. He and Webster do a collection of classic country standard tunes. It’s very Terlingua. Inclusive. Alternate chords and non-traditional time adventures abound.
Last night, Laird Considine played bass, Charlotte played her (do NOT call it a fiddle) viola, I played keyboards, and Abbie (not pictured) played harmonica and mandolin. Webster played guitar and sang the country and cajun songs. Keith played blistering leads on his tele and sang.
High points, from my vantage point behind the piano, were a minor-key variation on “Dang Me” by Roger Miller, and “Bones” and “el Cerrito Place,” which Keith wrote.
The High Sierra bar and grill was packed. Word got around fast that something was happening. Most of the listeners had no idea who they were listening to, but knew they were seeing a hell of a show.
Here’s a YouTube clip of Keith doing “El Cerrito Place.” You might enjoy typing his name into YouTube and seeing what comes up… he’s fearless about what he puts out there, and you can find some incendiary honky-tonk performances if you look.
Here’s Keith and a group of locals – Charlotte Teer on Viola, Laird Considine on Bass, me on keyboards- doing a bluesy, minor-key version of “Dang Me.”
Here’s what last night looked like-