There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
2014 Songswarm Texas Fall Tour is rolling! Taylor Pie, Michael O’Connor and Jeff Plankenhorn are on the road again with their unique way of sharing songs together in front of an audience. As one fan commented while contemplating the idea of songswarming….”a warmer songswap!” Check the schedule and mark your calendar! You won’t want to miss it!
2014 Songswarm Texas Fall Tour Schedule
Fri., Oct., 10th-9pm The Liberty Bell @ 422 E. Main Street, in Nacogdoches! Call for reservations: 936-622-6425
Sat.,Oct.11th-8pm @ Anderson Fair, Houston Tickets: $15
Thurs.,Oct.16th -8pm CST Concert Window LIVE from Port Aransas!
Sat.,Oct. 18th-W.B. Ray HS Class of ’64 50th Reunion with Pie & Michael (Private)
Sun., Oct. 19th- 5pm- House of Rock, 511 Starr St, Corpus Christi- Phone: 361/882-7625
Tues., Oct.21st - 8pm, Strange Brew, Lounge Side, Austin
Weds., Oct.22nd - 8pm, Hondo’s on Main, Fredericksburg- Michael & Pie guests of Kevin Higgins
Fri., Oct. 24th - 6pm Oma Gruene’s Secret Underground Garten, New Braunfels
Sun., Oct. 26th -11am, Strange Brew, Lounge Side, Austin, with Purgatory Players
Michael O’Connor spent his late teens right through his twenties, building his guitar chops playing blues, jazz and rock ’n’ roll in the rough-and-tumble shrimper and biker bars of the Gulf Coast around his hometown of Corpus Christi. He finally found his way into the singer-songwriter and folk circles via studio and sideman gigs with friends like Terri Hendrix, Susan Gibson, Adam Carroll, Cary Swinney and Ray Wylie Hubbard, who produced O’Connor’s 2000 debut, Green and Blue, noting that O’Connor “has the big four: tone, taste, groove and grit. He’s cool.” Then came the acclaimed Hard Times with Adam Carroll, and Giants From a Sleepy Town.
Nevertheless, O’Connor happily spent most of the last decade devoting more time to sideman gigs than on his solo career. But with the release of Devil Stole the Moon, the 47-year-old songwriter is gearing up to quietly take his place on center stage.
Across the somber, gritty noir-ish sweep of Devil Stole the Moon, his characters (some fictional, others directly inspired by friends, family, and associates) wrestle with addictions, broken dreams and mortality, while O’Connor himself confronts his own hardscrabble Corpus Christi roots. “I’m not trying to be famous or nothing,…I just write these songs that I play on guitar, and I’m doing it because it’s what I think I’m supposed to do…I don’t need to be rich,” Michael says simply. “I just want to make my living.””
Michael O’Connor was given his own star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in 2010, a fitting tribute to a working musician after well over 20 years of plying his trade in dive bars, listening rooms, theaters and festival stages across America and Europe. His name is now part of the same Lone star constellation as fellow inductees Terri Hendrix, Ponty Bone, Geronimo Trevino, Sam Neely, Pozo Seco Singers, Guy Clark, Freddy Fender, Doug Sahm and Kris Kristofferson.
Taylor Pie is a native East Texan, born in Jacksonville as Susan Taylor. After moving to Tulsa she began playing guitar and performing at the age of 9 and became a popular visitor on the “Sun Up” show performing hit songs of the day that ranged from what is now called country, pop, rock and folk, until the family moved to Corpus Christi when she was 14.
She helped form the Corpus Christi Folk Music Society and at a Del Mar College hootenanny hooked up with Don Williams and LoftonKline and the three quickly found their sound and name- The Pozo Seco Singers. The trio recorded a song called “Time,” which became a national hit and secured them a contract with Columbia Records and Albert Grossman Mgt.. The group shared the stage with folk icons Gordon Lightfoot, Ian & Sylvia, Odetta, Smothers Brothers and John Denver. After the Pozos, Taylor met Allen Reynolds, producer of her first solo album, “Finally Getting Home” on JMI Records, and recently re-released on PuffBunny Records out of Fredericksburg, TX, as, “Taylor Pie aka Susan Taylor Finally Getting Home.”
Taylor moved to NYC in 1972 playing clubs like the Bottom Line, O’Lunney’s and Folk City, where Bette Midler came in one night to hear her song “Back in the Bars Again,” and ended up using it in her “Clams on the Half Shell” review.
In the early 80’s, Taylor headed to the Berkshires honing her working musician /songwriter chops while playing local folk clubs like The Red Lion Inn, where Susan Taylor became Taylor Pie…looking for a handle that didn’t feel like, “Jane Doe” as she remembers. Pie has had songs recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Tanya Tucker, Mickey Gilley, The Lewis Family, The Forester Sisters, John Conlee, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, and Terri Hendrix. Her solo albums include Long Ride Home, Jubal, So Little Has Changed, LIVE @ Hondo’s, and Taylor Pie aka Susan Taylor Finally Getting Home.
Jeff Plankenhorn (or Plank as he’s known in Austin music circles) was born in Ohio and started out singing in church, musical theater productions and youth choirs. He began playing guitar at 10 years of age and by the time he was in high school, he was proficient in a number of performing and recording styles -jazz, bluegrass, funk, and hip-hop to name a few. He continued his music education at the University of Michigan becoming a major voice in the Ann Arbor, MI music scene.
Still hungry for knowledge and new licks, Plank moved to Nashville to hone his skills as a Dobro player learning from great masters of the instrument such as ‘Uncle’ Josh Graves and Gene Wooten, but when Ray Wylie Hubbard invited him to come to Texas and play, Jeff’s recalls, “It was the beginning of a wonderful education in the craft of songwriting.” It was also the eventual path to performing and recording with such Austin hard-hitters as Willis Alan Ramsey, Ruthie Foster, Eliza Gilkyson, Slaid Cleaves, Bruce Robison, Bettysoo, Susan Gibson, Gavin DeGraw, and many more.
Jeff’s first solo album, self-effacingly titled “Plank” with Gurf Morlix producing, opened new doors of opportunity and he’s been playing his own gigs from Gruene Hall to Austin hot spots like the Saxon Pub ever since. You’ll find him there every Sunday with The Resentments, founded by the late Stephen Burton, a band that has held true to its Austin roots with great players like Plank, Brughes Hughes, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Miles, Zuniga, and John Chipman.
Plank’s had songs in a number of independent films; toured with The Courtyard Hounds, a side project of Emily Robison and Marty McGuire of the Dixie Chicks; recorded with Joe Ely on the critically acclaimed CD, ‘Satisfied At Last’ and toured with Joe, helping promote it from Texas to New York City.
The official Pozo Seco Singers website is where you can purchase the re-release of their final Columbia album, “Shades of Time” @ the best online price available. There is a fabulous history of the group tucked inside along with 11 singles like, “I Believed it All”, and “Morning Dew” that never made it on an album before Pie and Don Williams retired the group.
The Pozo album is a great companion cd to our most recent release of Pie’s first solo album after the Pozos, which has been hard to keep in stock on the CDBaby shelves! Thanks to all of you who’ve purchased a copy and are now spreading the word to others. You are still PuffBunny’s main marketing network, and your support is what keeps us coming with the music! And don’t worry, we’ll keep the shipments going out to make sure those of you who don’t have a copy yet, can get one!
Allen Reynolds not only produced the record, but you’ll hear him singing throughout, playing guitar and even whistling on Dolly Parton’s song, “Blue Ridge Mountain Boy.”
And if you haven’t seen the article posted about Pie by Les Marcott for Scene4 Magazine, it is a must read for Pie and Susan fans alike! Thank you Les for a beautifully written account of our Americana folk pop artist extraordinaire!
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