Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a songwriter whose flame burned briefly but brightly.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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Blaze Foley was born Michael David Fuller on Dec. 18, 1949, in Malvern, Ark. He grew up in Texas but traveled extensively and, for a while, lived in a tree house outside of Atlanta. In 1976, he moved to Austin, where he quickly earned a reputation as a talented, if somewhat eccentric, singer-songwriter. He developed a small but devoted following performing in such local venues as the Austin Outhouse.
Blaze Foley lived a simple life, sleeping on friends’ couches and patching his boots with duct tape. Tragically, he was killed in a brawl outside a friend’s home in 1989. Foley’s songs have been recorded by John Prine, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Merle Haggard, and others. In 2011, the documentary film Duct Tape Messiah helped introduce Blaze Foley to a whole new generation of fans.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a bluesman who played in corner bars and at Carnegie Hall.