At the age of nineteen, Jim Keaveny set off travelling around the USA, hitch-hiking, hopping on and off freight trains, playing guitar and harmonica and finding his voice as a song-writer. Keaveny remembers these times fondly: “These were the best years of my life. I met some of my best friends and felt I was finding myself – with like minds, the guitar, the traveling, and the poetry.” He continued to hone his craft, busking on the streets of America and Europe, travelling constantly until he finally settled in the tiny Texan town of Terlingua. There, he spent years building a remote home, entirely off-the-grid, where he harvests rainwater and the sun’s power, and he writes his self-styled Tex-Americana songs. This intriguing blend of styles is truly the sound of the Texan desert.
Coming some years after his well-received 2017 album ‘Put it Together’, Keaveny’s latest releases, ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Golden Carmen’ are the product of patient, careful song-writing. His songs are often based on specific experiences, moments that remained with him throughout his unique, travelling life. ‘Golden Carmen’ was inspired by a brief psychedelic encounter with a woman called Carmen, with whom he experienced something like love at first sight. Keaveny explains: “The idea of this golden woman on a beautiful summer day stuck with me. Years later I met this woman in Colombia with something golden about her and suddenly this song came out of me. That’s the way I write songs. Sometimes it takes a long time.” The song hangs on a hypnotic, grooving bassline performed by Bill Palmer, and Keaveny’s characterful voice is supported by a rich blend of sounds, including Eric Ortiz on trumpet, Justin Lindsey’s electric guitar and Kevin Zoernig’s harpsichord, piano, Hammond 3C and Wurlitzer. It’s cosmic and desert-dry at the same time, a distinctive sound that comes from a powerful set of influences. Keaveney says of how his style has developed: “I just evolve the way I evolve. I just go with whatever comes in my head. It’s just inspiration, and I’m changing just like everybody else on the planet. Every day is something new. We evolve. Music has always been with me. My whole life, even as a child, music has been in my head. It comes to me. I don’t overthink it. I just feel it. The music comes to me and I am very compelled to record it.” Missy Walker’s sun-washed video complements the Tex-Americana sound. Check this out and be transported to the desert and its searing Texan heat.
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