One of our home venues in the Houston/Galveston area is the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe. It’s a place we visit regularly–on both sides of the stage. The Old Quarter is one of those rare and special places in the world–revered by audiences and bands alike–and we are lucky as hell to be able to go there so frequently.
Every New Year’s Day, the Old Quarter hosts a wake in honor of the late songwriter Townes Van Zandt, who died on New Year’s Day in 1997. Musicians who attend the wake are encouraged to play three Townes songs (and swig the communal orange soda and vodka onstage). About six or seven years ago (pandemic interruptions make it hard to keep track), we began attending the wake regularly. “Black Widow Blues” is one of the Townes songs we worked up for that event. It’s not a well-known Townes song, but we kind of like it for that reason. We found our voice in it, and we’ve very much enjoyed playing it on that stage.
One night after a show there in the Summer of 2022, we spent some time talking with Joel (the owner of the Old Quarter) and the Barkers (of Brightwire). Joel had the idea that someone should do a documentary about the Old Quarter–to record some living history of this amazing venu while the folks who are part of these stories and lore are still around to talk about it. Without hesitation, we all jumped onboard, and just like that, the grass roots documentary crew was born. We dove in with both feet and started interviewing people and capturing footage. For our part, we don’t really have any idea what we’re doing, but we’re doing it anyway, and we are tremendously grateful to be a small part of this piece of history.
So when it came time to finalize song choices for “Fireball”, including one of our Townes songs felt very appropriate. The Old Quarter and the fine folks who keep it running are all so important to us and to the music community as a whole. We feel honored to pay homage to the club and capture a memory of this particular time in our lives.