Texas Music at its best (english Version)

Texas Music at its best
With songs like Una Mas Cerveza (Tommy Alverson) or All Bucked Up (Ed Burleson), the two friends win the hearts of their fans since many years. Not only can you meet them regularly at Texas Honky Tonks, but you can attend their birthday party, which they throw each year for friends and fans. In early June it was time for me to drive to Plano in North Texas and enjoy a special Sunday afternoon filled with fun and music and visit with the birthday buddies to talk about things.

Bruno Michel: One thing you guys have in common is that you both love pure country music. Another is your birthday at the same day of the year. What other reasons were there to decide to celebrate this day together since almost 30 years? Tommy Alverson (TA): Well, 29 years ago, John Bailey, the owner of the Three Teardrops Tavern in Irving, Texas said: Hey, you guys have the same birthday, so, why don’t we put up a birthday party here? And ever since, we are doing this every year. I can’t believe it’s been so long since we started.

Ed Burleson (EB): True. I remember that songwriter contest at the Three Teardrops, in which I participated. After that, they gave me a regular gig. The first time I was there to see Tommy play. We became good friends and here we are.

What made you decide to make this event a fix and known part of the music calendar in Texas? TA: Every time we had a huge party and more and more fans showed up from all over to celebrate with us. Having fun is the major goal. We each play a set of our songs and, of course, we also play a few together.

What comes first to your mind if you were to describe your birthday buddy? TA: (laughs). A good friend, a real buddy. Ed was a teenager when he started. But quite a wild one. Like me, he has a loyal fanbase that always shows up at the gigs. Ed is country through and through. I even produced one of his albums.

EB: If you ask to name Texas Music heroes, one of the first name that you will hear since many years is Tommy Alverson. He’s one of my best friends and I am proud to call him that.

You both write excellent real Texas Music. Which song of your buddy do you like best? TA: I love Staring Out The Window. But Ed also recorded a few cover songs that I love, like songs by Clay Blaker or Jim Lauderdale. On many of his songs you can hear me play, too.

EB: Kind of funny that you mention this song of mine. I wrote that one in a few minutes and still it is one of the most requested songs during my concerts. I am not sure if I call this one from you my favorite but it’s certainly among the top 5 of my all-time favorites of your songs: I Can’t Help Myself Darling. I love it so much that I even recorded it myself.

Radio stations have significantly changed their format since y’all started. Today it seems more important to go with the flow instead of sticking to your roots. What would it take to have your kind of music played on mainstream radio again? TA: That is the million-dollar question. I don’t think we will see that here, except for a few smaller stations. It seems different in Europe where traditional country music still is highly popular. When I played the Craponne Festival in France, there were thousands of fans from all over Europe on a Sunday afternoon, singing my songs and wearing my t-shirts. I just continue to do what I do. Don’t try to change a teenager from the 60s in his old days.

EB: Right. I also was never fitting mainstream radio. One of my songs, Clinging To You, which I recorded together with Doug Sahm, made it to Number 46 on the charts. But apart from that, I agree with Tommy. I just keep doing my thing.

Ed, you were quite successful in the rodeo circuit until you hurt your knee. And, Tommy, you worked for Miller Beer for a long time before you became a fulltime musician. What would be your job today if you weren’t in the music business? EB: probably what I do today if I am not performing. I am a Jack of all Trades, like they say. From painting to flooring or creating leather goods. Unfortunately, hurting my knee forced me to quit the rodeo circuit. Or maybe I should say: thankfully. Because otherwise I would probably never have become a musician.

TA: I would probably be a great Walmart Greeter (laughs). No, really. I worked for Miller Beer for 30 years. Since I am in the music business, I love working nights and sleep in in the morning. I don’t think I could do anything else anymore.

Let’s assume it’s the year 2043. It’s your 50th Birthday Bash. Ed, you are 74 years old and Tommy, you are 91. How do you think that party will go over? TA: (laughs). By then I am either retired or they have to carry me on stage or push my wheelchair up a ramp

EB: That’s a good while from now. Let’s see how we are doing by then. Never say never (laughs).

Back to more serious topics. What can your fans expect when it comes to new music from you. TA: Glad you ask. I just recorded a live show in Galveston. Just me and my guitar. Totally acoustic. The masters are ready and I hope that I can present it at the 25th Anniversary of the Family Gathering.

EB: Well, I am a big fan of Dale Watson. When we sat down a while ago, he said I should record my next album in his studio. We haven’t figured out the details yet but I hope that there will be a couple duets included. The timing is still open.

Is there a famous country song that you would like to cover one day but haven’t so far? TA: There are many. I already have done a tribute album with Willie’s songs (Pickin’ On Willie, 2012). I would love to do a tribute to Merle Haggard.

Ed: Oh, you’re asking difficult questions (thinks for a while). There are many that come to mind but I can’t decide which one right now.

Last question: If you were to interview each other, what question would you ask your buddy that I did not ask? TA: Well, Ed was on time today and I was late. I am proud of him. My question would be why he didn’t write new songs in recent months. But it’s probably just like in my life: Married, family, kids, concerts and so on. Therefore, not enough time to constantly write new songs.

EB: How are you? Are you ok? That seems like a stupid question but with everything that you went through in the past few years (carbon monoxide poisoning, heart surgery) I think it’s a justified question. And, Tommy, you are correct. I should really write more songs again. But as you know yourself: The older we get the slower the song ideas flow through our heads (laughter).

Great. And now let’s head out and play the rest of this birthday party. The fans are already eagerly waiting. Thank you for the interview and all the best.