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Liar's Hour Liners

The Liar's Hour liner notes show a much different personae than the average B&T fan expects from Travis Edmonson:  here, we have less of a romantic Latin balladeer and more of a rough-edged Western fireside troubador.  However, given Travis' Arizona background, it may be that the "mostly Latin" focus of B&T was more of a "departure" for Travis than the old West yarns (with smaller splashes of Spanish/Latin material) heard on The Liar's Hour and on his later cowboy record with Katy Lee, Ten Thousand God Damn Cattle.. By this time, it appears Travis wished to introduce his audience to a broader panaroma of American Southwest music, including not just Spanish/Latin and cowboy folk songs but traditional native American forms and even the more localized popular music of the day as well.  Necessarily, such a deep exploration of specialized musical forms brought with it an even more specialized audience.

Nevertheless, don't go thinking Travis or his music was at this time anything more than a spiritual hop, skip, and jump away from his commercial heydey with Bud and Travis.  As stereotypically "different" as the Cowboy is from the Indian, or the Latin American from the typical "Anglo" American folk singer, the world they inhabit together in the American southwest is the same place.  The same sense of mystery and romance and adventure dances at the center of all their varied and usually blended musical forms. Even the narration on the record (supplied by modern cowboy-legend Bill Monroe)--with its charming mix of whimsy and human insight--carries distinct echoes of B&T's live comedy patter.

Liner Notes and Poem for the Album Liar's Hour
by Travis Edmonson

I have loved the deserts and mountains of the West since before I could tuck in my shirt-tail, and having lived in Arizona almost all my life and coming from a pioneer Arizona family, I have naturally loved the poems and songs inspired by the strange raw beauty of "My" west and its effect on the lives of cattle and horse people.  All my life I've been singing and playing guitar, telling the old tales and inventing some fanciful new ones all over the world, as part of the legendary Gateway Singers, with the highly successful folk duo of Bud and Travis, and by myself.

I considered myself really lucky when, several years ago, Bill (Monroe, who appears as the narrator on the album with Travis--Ed.) and I met on a ranch outside of Tucson and I sort of plinked along while he spun some of the wild and wonderful "windies" that are preserved here. We've been meaning to cut a record for a long time, but days are long and nights are cool and time goes slow in the desert, so we just recently got around to it.  For those of you who love the West, we hope this will help kindle the memory of wide-flung valleys, blue mountains, mesquite-smoke, firm handshakes, good horses, tough ranges, and cowboys who loved it all "before we was pups."

So sit back on your bedroll,
I'll tune up my guitar
And we'll weave a spell of the West That Was
Before the morning star . . .

". . . For the West wind was a true wind
And the western land was clean.
And it raised a special kind of folks
Who were seldom small or mean.
From the blue Canadian Rockies
To Sonora's silent sand
There's beauty enough for the frail and the tough
And a challenge for every man.

Some faced it hard and flinty
Some grinned and just went on
For the gold that gilded the sunset
And the silver that streaks the dawn
Myself, I'd take a story, or a poem when day was through
|And we hunkered by the chuck box
With the other buckaroos.

When the campfire was a comfort
And the coyote sang his song
From the talk you'd thought that Hell itself
Couldn't stop us boys for long . . .
Now I miss the clink of the spur-shod boot
And the cowboy talk so free;
They're parts of the past.
Old Pard, we're the last
Of the West that used to be . . . "

Travis Edmonson

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