Kinky Friedman, Willis Alan Ramsey

KGNU Presents

Kinky Friedman

Willis Alan Ramsey

Sat, August 11, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$25.00 - $30.00

This event is 21 and over

Kinky Friedman
Kinky Friedman
Where does one go in life, when you wrote your first song at age 11 (‘Ole Ben Lucas’), shortly after nearly playing a chess Grand Master (Samuel Reshevsky) to a draw? If you’re Kinky Friedman. there was only one way to go: up.

Like so many cool people in the boom generation, Kinky Friedman first saw the world through the Peace Corps in the sixties. Kinky did his PC time in Borneo as an agriculture extension worker, wherein he introduced the Frisbee to the natives and taught farming techniques to people who had been farming successfully for thousands of years. But it was in Borneo that Kinky began to write the tunes that would propel the rest of his life.

Kinky had formed his first band, King Arthur & the Carrots while a student at the University of Texas, prior to his Peace Corps stint, but when he returned to the states, he really got serious with his second band, Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys, the unit for which he is most famous, musically.

For his first album, Kinky released ‘Sold American’ in 1973 for Vanguard Records. His repertoire mixed social commentary (‘We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You’) and maudlin ballads (‘Western Union Wire’) with raucous humor (such as ‘Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed’). His ‘Ride 'Em Jewboy’ was an extended tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, and one of his most famous tunes from this session, ‘They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore,’ is still on many hip playlists.

In the mid-'70s, Friedman and the Jewboys toured with Bob Dylan & the Rolling Thunder Revue. By 1976 he had recorded his third album, ‘Lasso From El Paso,’ featuring appearances by Dylan and Eric Clapton. The Texas Jewboys disbanded less than three years later, and Friedman moved to New York, where he became a Sunday night fixture at the legendary Lone Star Cafe. His performances, often featuring guests like Robin Williams and John Belushi, were equally legendary.


During the seventies, Kinky set several high water marks in his early performance career. In 1975, Friedman and the Jewboys taped an Austin City Limits show which was never aired. According to the show's executive producer, Terry Lickona, this was the only time in the show's long history that an episode went unaired. Lickona told the Austin Chronicle "I've seen it many times – I think it was a great show, and it might be as offensive today as it was back then."

Kinky was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in October 1976, the first year of SNL, and he claims to have been the first full-blooded Jew to take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Apparently, this is true.

Starting in the early eighties, Friedman shifted his creative focus to writing detective novels, after a bizarre incident at an ATM machine. Kinky spotted a woman being robbed and dashed to her rescue using his bank card to gain entry to the locked ATM lobby. The episode unleashed Kinky Friedman, the private detective, and sparked a series of detective novels that have become world-famous. Featuring a fictionalized version of himself solving crimes in New York City and dispensing jokes, wisdom, recipes, charm and Jameson's whiskey in equal measure, the books are written in a straightforward style which owes a certain debt to Raymond Chandler, though Kinky has also quite fairly been referred to as the “Mark Twain of Texas.”

Kinky continued to tour throughout the eighties, this time in support of his novels, and a series of international publishing deals took that touring around the globe. During this period, his musings began appearing in such places as the New York Times, Playboy and Texas Monthly (where he later wrote a regular column). Ebooks and audio books (read by Kinky, himself) of all his great detective novels are available on line.

In 1986, Kinky took a break from writing and touring to try something new - politics. He ran for justice of the peace in his home town of Kerrville, Texas. Though he lost the race, he did discover a passion for politics. It would be another eighteen years, but he would revisit that arena.

In the nineties, Kinky began branching out with more personal writings. Since then he has discussed everything from social mores (‘Kinky Friedman’s Guide To Texas Etiquette: Or How To Get To Heaven Or Hell Without Going Through Dallas-Fort Worth’) to armadillos (‘The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic: A “Walk” In Austin’). He’s even written a hit children’s book (‘The Christmas Pig: A Fable’).

In 2004, the Kinkster returned to the political field, this time daring the state of Texas to think big and elect him governor in 2006. Running on a shoestring budget, with help from folks like Jesse Ventura and his Minnesota team of political handlers, Kinky garnered over a half million votes - not good enough to win it, but good enough to influence Texas politics long onto the future. Kinky was the first candidate in the history of the state to make it onto the November ballot as an Independent candidate - astounding, considering his campaign motto: “Why the hell not?”

In February 2007, Sustain Records released a compilation of the songs of Kinky Friedman sung by other artists called ‘Pearls In The Snow.’ The album includes contributions by Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Kelly Willis, and is one of two Kinky tribute albums available today. More recently, hot rising star Jesse Dayton recorded a full cd of Kinky songs, which received enormous interest in Nashville and around the US.

A second return to politics in 2014 saw Kinky running for Texas State Agriculture Commissioner on a full-legalization platform that may not have won him an election, but that has been instrumental in Texas now considering both medical use and personal use marijuana legalization in its state legislature, proving once and for all that the Kinkster is truly the “governor of the heart of Texas.”

In 2015, Kinky reinvented himself yet again, this time with his first all new studio album in nearly forty years. Signed to Avenue A Records/Thirty Tigers, Kinky, with the help of producer Brian Molnar and guitarist Joe Cirotti, presented an “all new Kinky,” with his cd, ‘The Loneliest Man I Ever Met.’ Filled with never-heard-before Kinky originals and beautifully rendered covers of such artists as Tom Waits, Warren Zevon and Willie Nelson, the cd is all about Kinky’s ultimate ability to deliver much more than just a funny line or humorous tune. The spare, yet lush arrangements all pointed up Kinky’s unique talent as both a songwriter and interpreter of great material. Guest performers Nelson, Little Jewford and Mickey Raphael supported but never overrode the simplicity and grace of the tunes and the artist.

And there is more on the horizon too! Kinky has ten more brand new songs in the can for what has become an eagerly anticipated 2018 release from the ever-evolving Kinkster. In November 2017, a full-on biography from Back beat Books hit the shelves. Authored by Mary Lou Sullivan, who recently published the highly regarded Johnny Winter bio, and titled ‘Everything’s Bigger In Texas - The Life And Times Of Kinky Friedman,’ it has received enormous interest, and it has been exactly that: an enormous hit.

Kinky has also co-authored a new book (pub date: early 2018) that also promises to be a huge winner. Working with Louie Kemp, lifelong friend and associate of Bob Dylan, Kinky has helped write perhaps the definitive book about Bob Dylan - not so much a biography as a sort of “tales of Bob” excursion through life from the time of his meeting with Louie to the present day. Also very highly anticipated.

And on July 3rd, he will be releasing bias first all-new self-penned album in nearly forty years, ‘Circus Of Life.’ He’s releasing it on his own terms and on his own Echo Hill Records label. A monster summer tour follows in June, July, and August. Yep, Kinky is finally doing it his way. Harking to his early years, he has chosen to ignore the Nashville ethos, that all must be concertedly “radio friendly,” sweetened, and over-produced. What he and producer Brian Molnar have delivered is simply one of the most beautiful albums of this year or any other. The first single, Autographs In The Rain (Song To Willie) is already in heavy rotation on SiriusXM Outlaw Country, and there are at least four more top shelf A sides.

With Joe Cirotti on multiple instruments, and Mickey Raphael, Augie Meyers, Original Jewboy Little Jewford, Clay Meyers and Jim Beal providing amazing grace notes, not a single track on the album fails to reach its very high mark. Kinky may “just have to stick with songwriting” after all. To verify this, he’s taking it on the road, for one of the longest, most comprehensive tours of his storied career. After flash mob-style appearances in Galveston, Houston and Nacogdoches, TX, the ‘Circus Of Life Tour’ begins in earnest in Pittsburgh, and rumor has it that it will continue on forever. Yes, the second act has begun. May it never end.
Willis Alan Ramsey
Willis Alan Ramsey
Loveland, Colorado - Willis Alan Ramsey is pleased to announce that he has secured funding to complete his long awaited follow-up album, with the working title “Gentilly”. Final pre-production began in early March, and he plans to release the new record in the coming year.

Over 40 years after the release of his wildly influential self-titled album on Leon Russell’s seminal Shelter Records, Willis Alan Ramsey returns to touring in advance of a long-anticipated follow-up.

Ramsey’s debut in 1972 earned scores of accolades from artists ranging from The Allman Brothers to Shawn Colvin. The album was mined by many artists for their own projects and performances, including Jimmy Buffett (“Ballad of Spider John”), Jimmie Dale Gilmore (“Goodbye Old Missoula”), Shawn Colvin (“Satin Sheets”), Captain & Tennille (“Muskrat Love/Candlelight”), Jerry Jeff Walker (“Northeast Texas Women”), Waylon Jennings (“Satin Sheets”), New Grass Revival (“Watermelon Man”), and many more.

Since that landmark first release, Ramsey has toured only occasionally, spending time instead with his family, honing his craft in Austin, Nashville and London, educating himself in the science of audio recording and composing new songs, some of which will appear on his upcoming album, Gentilly. His new songs have received critical acclaim as well, including Lyle Lovett’s recordings of “Sleepwalkin’ ” , “North Dakota” and “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)”, cowritten with his wife, Alison Rogers, as well as Eric Clapton’s recent recording of Willis’ “Positively”.

Ramsey’s infrequent personal appearances always garner excitement among some of the top critics in the country as well as from his fellow artists….

“His cozy, orderly, tiny-detail songs express a willful turnabout from hippie chaos, a visceral reaction particular to the early 1970s,” wrote Ben Ratliff for The New York Times. “His songs are sweet, emotionally guarded and often musically complex, fitting strains of melody together that seem as if they ought not connect, expertly using rhythmic displacement as the words and chords unspool…. Perfection is terrifying, and some of these songs felt spooky.”

“Willis Alan Ramsey is living proof that reward and reverence come from quality, not quantity,” says Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News.

“You might not have seen him lately,” writes John T. Davis of The Austin American Statesman, “but if you’ve listened to Shawn, Lyle or Jimmie Dale, you’ve heard him.”

And from No Depression, “Even if Ramsey had made a dozen more albums, this would still be the record that no home should be without.”

“Everybody owned this record when I lived in Austin in 1977. That’s because it’s great and them Texans knew it. I think Lyle is great, but tell me he didn’t learn something from Willis.”—Shawn Colvin

“I learned every song off his record. I went to see him every time he played, got tennis shoes like his. I wanted to be Willis Alan Ramsey.”—Lyle Lovett
Venue Information:
Hi-Dive
7 S. Broadway
Denver, CO, 80209
http://www.hi-dive.com/