by: Thomas D. Mooney
Brandon Adams, Daniel Markham, and Daniel Fluitt writes porch light songs. You drive around town and their glow breaks through the darkness at different locations. They can be faint–you have to really search to find them. Some, the memories rush in. You’re over-saturated with the senses. A dose of nostalgia hits you in the nose and you’re suddenly feeling your sinuses. Your eyes, they feel tear-filled and you have the need to blow your nose.
You’re not sad or depressed by the passing of time or the yearning of another time. But rather, it’s these pockets of memories that begin to play in your head. The movie reels click on with a line about a faded relationship or a past lover. They start it off and you fill in the gaps–choose your own adventure.
A lot of times, you barely recognize yourself. Your co-star of the memory, they’re fading like a ghost as well. You mouth the words of these Polaroid memories. The songs stay the same.
They’re porch lights. Sometimes they only come around at night. The song doesn’t have the same relevancy in the day time that it had the night before.
The three, they’ve left town–Denton, Stephenville, and Knoxville–but they’re still here. Walk into a haunt filled with current Lubbock songwriters and musicians right now and you’re bound to overhear a conversation about at least one of them. They may as well be the patron saints of Lubbock Music–at least of the last decade or so.
There’s an aspect of them being cult icons and heroes. By comparison, they don’t have the same fan numbers as others who’ve come out of Lubbock in the past 25 years–Josh Abbott, Wade Bowen, Pat Green, etc–but as far as influence, there’s no comparison.
The trio has defined what the “Lubbock singer-songwriter” has become in that time–the same way Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Terry Allen created the “Lubbock singer-songwriter” persona in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Adams, Markham, and Fluitt are that.
The first Thursday night of the year rolls up with the three rolling into town. They unify a Lubbock scene in ways others simply can’t. It’s alt-country kickers, punks, Blue Light hanger-ons, death metal devotees, flanneled hipsters, and the like. Walk out bar and they’ll go all their separate ways with little in common other than their love for Adams, Markham, and Fluitt tunes and Lonestar beer.
You really can’t find another set of songwriters in this town that can do that. These three though–they cut to the core of this town you can’t dismiss or ignore.
It’d been nearly a year since I’d heard a Thrift Store Cowboy song sung in a live setting. Later this month, it’ll be two years since Fluitt moved off to Tennessee (TSC’s last official show was January 26, 2013. Hasn’t been one since). Still, a strum on his pick-scraped guitar and it’s like he never left. You’re soon singing along. You’re hanging on to the words. You’re seeing how they’re hitting the people around you.
All three are open to requests. They oblige when it’s their turn.
Markham’s singing in the middle. Fluitt and Adams are watching from their front row seats. There’s giddiness to their smiles and gleam in their eyes. Every once in a while, one has a shit-eating grin. Same thing happens when it’s Fluitt’s turn next and again with Adams goes into “Baby Birds.”
Old friends and fans bring them shots and beer. They oblige with a cheers and down the hatch. Some things never change.
The tables were never pushed to the front on the wooden dancefloor so folks are staggered across in pockets and lines of three or four. They go out for smokes and return. On the front patio, conversation revolves around the three on stage. Why their songs mean something to them. What they mean to this scene. You get the picture.
It’s perhaps the best set of songs performed together in all year (and I mean that as in 365 days, not the 8 of 2016). You try and take it all in–not in photograph or Snapchat–but through all your senses. While this kind of thing used to happen all the damn time, it’s not every day anymore. You take it in knowing it may never happen again–or at the very least, not for a while. It’s not Salad Days anymore.
They shine like Lubbock porch lights. Blow like Panhandle wind. Soak in like West Texas suns.