January 4, 2010

Pierce Pettis

From the Songs you won't hear on the radio files:

Like with most artists, I came to Pierce through albums, and what great albums they were. Produced by Mark Heard until his death, they showcased Pierce's incredible talent as a songwriter and a guitar player. In particular, Making Light of It blew me away. Here's the song that provides the album title.

I had a chance to see him live in Augusta, GA in 1997, but it conflicted with a my own gig, and I decided to do my own gig rather than cancel and see his. It was probably a mistake.

Five years later, The Woman and I got to see him at the Grey Eagle in Ashville, NC on our 25th anniversary. It was awesome, but I found his stage presence distracting, the left leg rocking on the quarter notes, his right on the eight notes. And when he played harmonica, his body seemed to undulate. On top of the legs pumping, it made for a spectacle. Here's another nice tune from State of Grace.

We got to see Pierce last year at a house concert near Manor. It was incredible -- a few dozen folks crowded around the fireplace, me sitting less than ten feet from him. I wasn't as distracted this time and he played some wonderful stuff. My only regret was that I already had all the albums, so there was nothing there for me to buy. We also got to hear his son, and his daughter, Grace, who is currently attending St. Edwards here in Austin.

The nice thing about putting these things together is finding stuff I haven't seen before. I haven't heard this story behind one of my favorite songs on Making Light of It.

I finally made it to hear Grace a month before her first CD came out, then again at the songwriter showcase at the Bugle Boy in LaGrange. She's an amazing songwriter with a great voice. Go figure. You can check out a few of the tracks from her new CD on her MySpace page.


~k said...

adding Grace to the iPod... love the bird song...lived in Augusta in '97 too- far younger than you back then too :oP

Brad Whittington said...

You need to hear "I Am Turning Too."

Augusta, nice town. I actually lived in Aiken, but spent plenty of time on the other side of the river.