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.
Fats Kaplin & Kristi Rose
Husband & Wife Duo, Kristi Rose & Fats Kaplin, have long been recognized as artists of distinctive note. Kristi Rose as a powerful and evocative singer and writer. Fats Kaplin as a composer and master multi-instrumentalist, who, over several decades, has played with hundreds of artists.
Together they are mesmerizing performers who have created a highly eclectic musical genre, (and a way of life) known as Pulp Country. It is a world of cinematic proportion where rural and urban collide. Their very particular slant on the world is shaped by their individual backgrounds. She is from a farm in far Southern Illinois, an area historically known as “Little Egypt” that has a dark, hard scrabble past. He was raised on the Westside of Manhattan, a working class cultural melting pot where music and life reverberated through the air shaft and into his psyche.
Their numerous critically acclaimed albums include the classic This Is Pulp Country!, Kristi Rose- Live In Holland, Fats’ The Fatman Cometh, World of Wonder-Downunder, numerous EPs and their most recent, an album for the Christmas Season in 2010, I Wonder As I Wander.
As a duo, Kristi Rose & Fats have played venues ranging from major festivals and clubs in the U.S., Canada and Europe to intimate House Concerts and Listening Rooms. Onstage, through story and song, Fats, with lone guitar and fiddle, and Kristi Rose with a voice that gives cry to the heavens, conjure up the thinly veiled lives that we all must lead. Lives that are haunted by ghosts of regret, disrupted by carnal dreams, yet still able to be given over to rapturous joy.