Do we really need to introduce Kevin and Dustin to Blue Door audiences? Okay, fine. Here goes.
Kevin Welch’s poetic songs paint pictures of real people–people you know, people you’ve seen–so clearly that you realize quickly he’s a keen observer of the human experience. His songs have an almost film-like quality in their vision and beauty.
After growing up in Oklahoma, where he played in a popular regional band, Blue Rose Cafe, Kevin moved to Nashville in the late 1970s, upon the suggestion of his friend John Hadley, a professor at the University of Oklahoma. Once in Nashville, he became a songwriter for Tree International. His songs were recorded by such artists as Moe Bandy, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, The Highwaymen, The Judds, The Kendalls, Patty Loveless, Reba McEntire, Charlie Pride, Ricky Skaggs, Pam Tillis, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Don Williams, and Trisha Yearwood.
Building on the thrilling strengths of his fearsomely original 2009 debut, Whisky Priest (which Lone Star Music magazine deemed “one of the most compelling albums to come out of Texas in the past year”), Austin-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dustin Welch released his second album, Tijuana Bible, on Feb. 12 via his own Super Rooster Records. Like Whisky Priest before it, Tijuana Bible finds the Nashville-born Welch playing the part of a wickedly mysterious carnival barker, bouncing strains of Americana, rock, and folk music off of each other like a hall of funhouse mirrors. His lyrics are similarly multifaceted, reflecting literary influences ranging from American gothic to gritty pulp fiction and themes both sacred and profane. Welch calls Whisky Priest and Tijuana Bible (named after the hand-drawn pornographic pamphlets that were passed around in Depression-era work camps) the first two parts of a projected trilogy. Although the songs are neither overtly religious nor linked to each other as part of a conceptual story, many of them do share a sense of desperation-hardened fortitude, along with hints of mono-mythic mysticism.