Time & Location
Feb 23, 2024, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Waring, 8 Manning St, Waring, TX 78074, USA
About the event
Open and empty. That’s how Darden Smith describes the west Texas landscape that inspired his wildly creative new multi-media project, Western Skies. Comprising a new studio record, a book of photography, lyrics, and essays, and an accompanying album of readings set to music, the collection is an immersive journey through a world both real and imagined, a place of mystery and mythology, possibility and longing. Like his photographs, Smith’s writing is steeped in isolation, though rarely lonely; timeless, yet acutely aware of the hours and minutes whizzing by like mileposts on the highway. The songs on Western Skies are spare and deliberate, often marked by a distinct sense of motion and transience, and the performances are similarly raw and intimate, reflecting the desolate beauty of the region that so captured Smith’s imagination as he crisscrossed it time and again throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the course of his remarkable three-and-a-half decade career, Smith has released 15 critically lauded studio albums, landed singles on both the country and pop charts (including the Top 10 hit “Loving Arms”), penned a symphony, scored works for theater and dance, published a widely celebrated book on creativity, exhibited works of visual art, and co-founded the non-profit SongwritingWith:Soldiers program, which pairs veterans with musicians in order to tap into the transformational possibilities of collaborative songwriting. (During the pandemic, the Austin-based artist also helped launch Frontline Songs, which connected musicians and healthcare workers to support them in telling their stories and healing their trauma.) The Daily News hailed Smith as “one of the most respected American musicians working today,” while the Austin Chronicle dubbed him a “master song craftsman,” and AllMusic called him “a singer-songwriter blessed with an uncommon degree of intelligence, depth, and compassion.”
“With songwriting as powerful as hers, there’s no need to go looking for qualifiers. She’s a unique, intrinsically valuable musical voice. And there’s never a surplus of those.” — Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Time
Mary Gauthier's eleventh album, the first record in over 8 years consisting of all her own songs, Dark Enough to See the Stars, follows the profound antidote to trauma, Rifles & Rosary Beads, her 2018 collaborative work with wounded Iraq war veterans. It garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album, as well as a nomination for Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association. Publication of her first book, the illuminating Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting, in 2021, brought her more praise. Brandi Carlile has said, “Mary’s songwriting speaks to the tender aspects of our humanness. We need her voice in times like these more than we ever have.” The Associated Press called Gauthier “one of the best songwriters of her generation.”
Mary’s songs have been recorded by dozens of artists, including Jimmy Buffett, Dolly Parton, Boy George, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Bettye Lavette, Mike Farris, Kathy Mattea, Bobby Bare, Amy Helm and Candi Staton and have appeared extensively in Film and Television, most recently on HBO TV’s Yellowstone.