Bob Livingston to play Harmony House concert

| May 27, 2019 | Reply

Photos and story by Mary Jane Farmer — Also printed in The Paris News, 5.28.19

Bob Livingston, a founding member of The Lost Gonzo Band and much-sought-after performer, is playing a house concert from 4-6 pm, Sunday, June 2, at the Harmony House Concerts, Wildscape Acres in the Ravenna/Bonham area. Harmony House hostess Faye Wedell said, “We couldn’t be more delighted to have Bob here.”

Livingston was a key figure in the cosmic cowboy/progressive country/redneck rock movement that redefined Texas music in the 1970s. He, Gary P. Nunn, and others in the Lost Gonzo Band backed up Jerry Jeff Walker in those early years, and often Michael Martin Murphey and others as well. He has earned a reputation as a band leader, solo artist, session musician and sideman in folk, Americana and country music. He has toured without stop for 47 years. He has recorded with others and on his own. In 2016, Livingston was inducted into the Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame and, in 2018, was inducted into the West Texas Music Walk of Fame. Livingston’s latest CD, Up The Flatland Stairs, was released in 2018.

Livingston has seen a lot of the world since growing up in musically fertile West Texas. Hailing originally from San Antonio, he moved to Lubbock as a boy where his interests prompted him to delve into the music and mysteries of many cultures. Traveling since the 80s as a Music Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, Livingston has taken Texas music to almost every continent, As Livingston said, “When all else fails, music prevails.”

Livingston has never been a traditional Texas country musician living the honky-tonk life—even though he’s spent more than his share of time on the roadhouse circuit with some of the most colorful and rambunctious musicians in Texas.

Nowadays, Livingston is a busy man. Playing more than 150 shows a year, he is also writing a memoir for Texas Tech Press and playing with a multi-cultural band from Texas and India called Cowboys & Indians. He got the idea for the group while he was in India for a U.S. State Department cultural exchange tour. Local musicians, using their indigenous instruments, sat in almost every night. Everyone mixed themes, influences, rhythms, instrumentation, and insights from both East and West. They played songs and yodels from Texas and ragas and chants from India. The result was definitely country and eastern music.

Inspired by these experiences, Livingston wanted to take the sounds and charm of the Indian shows back to Texas. He got together with songwriting friend Bobby Bridger and they wrote new songs and tossed around ideas for a show to be presented in Texas schools and theaters. The concept for Cowboys & Indians began to take shape, and some great musicians, drawn from the vibrant Austin international musical community, joined up.  The result is Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull meet Buddy Holly & Ravi Shankar!

Livingston is a regular performer at Woody Guthrie Festival, aka WoodyFest, in Okemah most years. There, he plays solo and sits in with other musicians. He is a master raconteur who engages his audience from the first notes off his guitar or his harmonica.

Livingston will play two 45-minute sets with an intermission, which gives fans a chance to get him to sign CDs and even their cowboy boots and hats.

Reservations are advised, especially because of limited seating, and can be made by calling 903-583-2661. And to add to the fun, there will be a Texas Picnic potluck dinner afterward, and when one makes reservations, one can confirm attendance at the dinner and say what they will be bringing to contribute. Not enough fun yet? Well, stay for the songswap, led by Livingston.

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