There is a town in Texas called Goodnight. The last reported population of the town, in 2000, was eighteen. Named after Charles Goodnight, who settled on the site in 1887, it is not known for much these days, but that may soon change. This town happens to be halfway (on I-40) between San Francisco, California where Avi Vincour resides, and North Carolina, where Patrick Dyer Wolf resides. About five years ago, these two musicians met and began collaborating together. Years later, on August 20th, 2011, this midpoint occurred to them and they named their band Goodnight, Texas.
The name fits for many reasons beyond the geographical connection. Goodnight, Texas (the band) make music that recalls late-nineteenth century blue-collar America, the same time frame Goodnight (the town) was founded. The band’s debut album A Long Life of Living (streaming below) views common themes of love, hard work, and travel through the lens of a simpler time and stories involving coal mines, farms, railroads, and smokestacks. It is an incredibly focused and cohesive debut, despite having two writers with very different styles.
When I ask during our phone interview about their respective writing approaches, Vincour explains that his songs “formulate kind of quickly” and that “there’s not a lot of depth to them,” while Patrick’s “are a lot more thought through and a little more complex.” His friend Patrick more astutely observes that Avi’s writing is “more story-driven,” adding that his own lyrics “are more murky.” Neither seem to give themselves enough credit.
The two writers round out their rag-tag group with bassist Bobby Kendall and drummer Alex Nash, bringing a fuller sound to their live show. The group is currently touring the country and are in good spirits as we talk over the phone. They are excited about their tour, which is the largest of their young career and will have them road-testing some new material. The trip also includes a stop in their namesake town, where they have rented out the community center for $25 to put on a show.
The day before A Long Life of Living came out, Avi and Alex stopped in Goodnight, Texas on their way back from an East Coast tour and “went to every door in town and gave them all our CD.” Patrick, although not with them at the time, was worried “that they were going to be mad that we stole their name.” Luckily, “they’ve been totally psyched about it.” Goodnight, Texas residents are not the only ones psyched about Goodnight, Texas the band, and soon enough their tiny little town may be more well-known than they are used to.
Goodnight, Texas will be part of a show we are very excited to present at Kung Fu Necktie on Friday, February 15th. Toy Soldiers will headline, August John Lutz II (of Levee Drivers) will open, and GT will be sandwiched in the middle. Tickets are available here. More information can also be found on this Facebook event page.