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The Ballad of Citizens at Last

I am inspired by stories about people who lived remarkable lives and overcame immense challenges to survive, thrive, and make the world a better place for the people around them. On previous albums, my co-writers and I have written songs about Cabeza de Vaca, Sam Houston, Lyndon Johnson, and now we have written a song about Minnie Fisher Cunningham, a Texas woman who led the fight to get women the right to vote in the years before 1920.

On August 24, Kelley Mickwee and I will be releasing this new song, created in connection with the documentary film “Citizens at Last: Texas Women Fight for the Vote.”

The film will be airing on Austin PBS HDTV on August 23 at 10pm.

The documentary tells the story of the crucial role Texas women played in the long struggle for equal voting rights, leading up to the passage of the Nineteen Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, and beyond, to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The film was based on a book of the same title by Ellen C. Temple.

I wrote the song with the filmmakers Ellen C. Temple and Nancy Schiesari. We recorded it with Gordy Quist producing and Trevor Nealon playing piano at The Finishing School in Austin.

This August release of the song celebrates the 102nd Anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, recognizing the right of women to vote, and the 57th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act which enfranchised Black voters.

The Ballad of Citizens at Last

Performed by Kelley Mickwee and Owen Temple
Written by Owen Temple, Ellen C. Temple, & Nancy Schiesari

Lead Vocal: Kelley Mickwee
Harmony Vocals: Owen Temple and Gordy Quist
Acoustic Guitars: Owen Temple
Piano: Trevor Nealon

Produced by Gordy Quist
Recorded at The Finishing School, Austin, Texas

Citizens at Last is a registered trademark of Ellen C. Temple. Used with permission. Cover image from the film Citizens at Last used with permission of ET Films, LLC/Mo-ti Productions, LLC.

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Gold Standard

My friend Kelley Mickwee has released a brilliant recording of a song we wrote together called “Gold Standard.”

We wrote it thinking about how if two people spend enough time together, they might wake up one day to find that they’re “an item” – a couple. And if the match looks good enough to the folks around them then their love becomes a model, an ideal, an institution.

Usually, the path getting to that sweet spot is more bumpy and complicated than it appears, but when you find a love that’s holding up, you try to hold on to it and treat it like the treasure it is. I imagine Tammy Wynette and George Jones singing this to each other. They’re the gold standard.

The song is story about that photo on the wall of those two soulmates – the couple everybody envied and aspired to be. The couple that took the long way getting together, but once they found each other, they do their best to live up to the promises they made.

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True Beautiful Thing

Happy Easter y'all. Though we're practicing physical distancing, we are closer together today, thanks to an online recording collaboration that brought this song I wrote with Walt Wilkins to life. Hear the song at https://www.waltwilkins.com/ and below-

Thanks and peace to Tina Wilkins, Corby Craig Schaub, Bill Small, Bart deWin, Ray Rodriguez, Ron Flynt, Jimmy Davis and Walt for many, true beautiful things.

Here's Walt's description of the collaboration:

2 years ago, after a day at Jumping Dog studio recording with Tip Jar - Bill Small, Ray Rodriguez, Ron Flynt & Bart & I tracked a song I had just written with the great Owen Temple. Jimmy Davis added a killer guitar track a day or so later. There it sat until last week, when we began finishing it in a socially responsible/physically distant way, as Bart sent in a track from his home in The Netherlands, Corby added guitar from his home in Liberty Hill, Bill sent in harmony from Wimberley, and Tina sang in the studio. It was fun, and here it is. I'll have it up here for a few days, and it will be available for download on May 1.

Thanks and peace to Tina Wilkins, Corby Craig Schaub, Bill Small, Bart deWin, Ray Rodriguez, Ron Flynt, Jimmy Davis and Walt for many, true beautiful things.

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Band of Heathens New Video for “Trouble Came Early”

I love this new video the Band of Heathens did for a song that Gordy and I wrote together called “Trouble Came Early.” Recorded at several live performances, it shows off the band’s blistering version of this song that was released on their new album (details below).

Thanks to Rolling Stone for the coverage of the song:

If Austin rockers the Band of Heathens are any indication, rock & roll is alive and well. On “Trouble Came Early” (off the band’s most recent LP Duende), vocalist Gordy Quist channels Shake Your Money Maker-era Chris Robinson, with a Black Crowes-worthy arrangement to boot. Big vocal harmonies and honky-tonk piano recall early Rolling Stones, while a couple of capable, greasy slide-guitar solos at the song’s bridge and outro should fans who miss the Duane era of the Allmans sit up straight.

Trouble Came Early

Recorded by The Band of Heathens – Duende (2017)
Music and Lyrics by Owen Temple and Gordy Quist



 

The only speakeasy in a hard neighborhood
She said “hanging round there, I know you’re up to no good”
Singles and doubles, seven years aged
It’s a rich man’s playground, a working man’s cage
So what’s so wrong it’s just one or two
It’s been a long day and I’m coming back home to you
Trouble came early, trouble stayed late
Trouble came early, trouble stayed late

I gotta good hearted woman, but she’s ready to split
Yeah she says that she loves me but she’s tired of my shit
Well I try so hard just to slow down
But it’s too little too late, she’s through waiting around
I came home right on cue, she was packing my bags
I’ve had nothing left to lose
Trouble came early, trouble stayed late
Trouble came early, trouble stayed late

Well I woke up faded in a hammerhead spin
I can’t remember, did I fall, did I sin
Some call it justice, other’s blackmail
But it’s the hair of the dog that keeps chasing his tail
The Cost so high to live so low
I lost it all and all I really know
Trouble came early, trouble stayed late
Trouble came early, trouble stayed late
Trouble came early, trouble stayed late
Trouble came early, trouble stayed late