7 Years Ago — Songs of Will T. Massey

Writing recently about my cousin, singer-songwriter Will T. Massey, made me think about his “comeback” years in Austin. Along with releasing a string of albums, he regained his spark for live performances. Working solo or with partners or bands, he kept up a steady stream of performances, peaking with some extended monthly residencies in some renowned Austin clubs like Momo’s and Flipnotics. Unfortunately, small venues struggle to survive — and most eventually don’t. Both Momo’s and Flipnotics closed during Will’s monthly runs.

Here’s a handful of Will T. Massey songs captured during a single performance at Momo’s exactly seven years ago tonight, on 1-11-11. Playing with a band including Dave Ducharme-Jones on guitar, Richard Bowden on fiddle, Ram Zimmerman on drums, and Jeff Joiner on bass, Will sang tunes from his vast repertoire, both old and newer. While 2 of these tunes appear on CD releases (“Coffee Break” on Will T. Massey and “American Prayer” on Wayward Lady), 3 of them remain officially “unreleased,” like any number of Will T.’s great songs. Somebody once commented Will T. had forgotten more great songs than most writers ever try to write.

This quick look in the YouTube rear view mirror helps keep Will’s songs alive.

I’ve Been Called

A lightning bolt through the roof of my childhood room
Said “Take that guitar and raise your voice to the moon.”
It was louder than my father, sweeter than my mother’s kiss,
It said, “You’re chosen for some songs — they’ll be some things you miss.”

Coffee Break

The angels take a coffee break at night.
We see the tips of their cigarettes shining bright.
We call them ‘stars’ — they call that a joke.
And the clouds, they are Holy Smoke.

American Prayer

Tell Him that we’re tragic
When you get up there,
That we need some magic:
My American prayer.

Soul Love

Love’s for sale all over the world
But mine’s for free
It’s a soul love I have with you
And it’s richer than me.

Hardest Mile

Learn to walk again,
Learn to talk again —
Learn to do it with a smile.
Hold the key to a new door,
Love where you’ve never been before —
You’ve come down your hardest mile.

The final lines in this song speak from Will the survivor to the survivor in us all.

Singed by hell’s fire,
You’re a survivor —
You’ve come down your hardest mile.


About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
This entry was posted in music, musicians, performances, songs and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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