Blaze Foley: Live at the Austin Outhouse
Storied Austin Songwriter Left Legacy of Exceptional Songs
(Austin, Texas) Blaze Foley has long been celebrated by the Austin music community as a master songwriter. With the release of "Blaze Foley - Live at the Austin Outhouse," his songs are now available for the first time nationally. The release comes ten years after his death at age 39.
Originally issued as a cassette in l989, "Live at the Austin Outhouse" captures some of the best of Foley's songs. It includes "If I Could Only Fly," which Merle Haggard called "The best country song I've heard in 15 years." Haggard and Willie Nelson recorded the song in l987.
"Our hope in releasing the Outhouse CD is that Blaze and his songs will be exposed to a
wider audience, so he can achieve the recognition he rightfully deserves as one of
Texas' finest songwriters," said John Casner, Foley's friend and partner in the Outhouse
At the time of his death, Foley (whose real name was Michael David Fuller) was little known outside of Austin's renegade songwriter circles. But recent events have sparked widespread interest in the Foley songbook. In l999, two tribute CDs of Foley songs were released, with a third tribute in the works. Further, Lucinda Williams' "Drunken Angel," and Townes Van Zandt's "Blaze's Blues," personal tributes to Foley, are adding to a legacy that was once nearly forgotten.
Born in Arkansas in l949, Foley grew up in West Texas, performing at an early age in a family gospel act called the Fuller Family. He led a colorful and storied life. Even in Austin, a city of non-conformists, Foley stood out. He slept on friends' couches or on
the pool tables in clubs. Periodically banned (if only temporarily) by many Austin clubs, he made the Austin Outhouse his surrogate home.
Above all, Foley is remembered for the stark honesty of his songs. They tapped emotions so deep, they sometimes reduced his lumbering frame to tears while performing. From aching love songs to provocative political commentary, Foley's songs reflected his uncompromising artistic vision.
Intensely devoted to his craft, Foley never held a "day" job. He wrote hundreds of songs and made several recordings. Unfortunately, most of the master tapes have been lost or stolen. One master is even reported to be in the hands of the FBI, or the DEA, depending on who is telling the story.
Always an advocate for the underdog, Foley pledged a portion of the profits from the original cassette release to an Austin homeless shelter. Circumstances prevailed, however, and proceeds went instead to defray his burial costs. In keeping with Foley's wishes, 20 percent of the profits from this release will go to the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, in his name.
Playing a borrowed guitar for these sessions, Foley is supported by some of Austin's finest musicians. Initially a four-track recording, the tape has been digitally remixed and edited, to fully capture the intimacy of those December nights in l988.
Four weeks after making these recordings - while trying to protect an elderly man he had befriended - Foley was shot and killed.