I GET SO EXCITED when I have new music to share with you, and Terry Rasor’s CD, “ON FIRE” is something worth getting excited about.
First a little background.
Terry Rasor has been writing and performing music since the seventies. He is a Fort Worth, Texas native and won the distinction of “Songwriter of the Year” in 1991 from the MCMA. Then in 2017, he was granted the ‘Steve Fromholtz Songwriter Award’ at the Texas Musicians Museum. His raw, gritty, straight ahead sound is honest. He is the songwriter’s songwriter and has a voice that requires no microphone. So, without any more delay, I want to dive into his new CD, 'ON FIRE'!
A story song, “Down By The Arbor,” begins this project. It should be a hard luck movie theme song! “Here come hell/when the hammer fell/In the cold hard ground, it all comes due…”
“Just To Please You,” is a ballad about life and circumstances. “I’m trying my best now just to please you…”
The next song, “I Never Drink Alone,” is a co-write with Roy Robinson (aka Amos Staggs) and it is the perfect ‘feelin’ sorry for yourself’ break-up song. “I never drink alone, your memory’s always along…”
The title track, “On Fire,” is one of the best story songs I’ve ever heard. I’ll say it again. This entire album could be a movie soundtrack!
“He was an outlaw by trade, one foot already in the grave, deck of cards in his pocket, someone’s hair in a silver locket. He could make an old horse dance, didn’t need no fancy pants tellin’ him he had what it took to be in next year’s parade…On Fire. He tried his best to set the world on fire…”
The next song could be a huge life lesson! “How Bad” tells it like it is! “You’ve been grinding away in the wind and the rain. You’re willing to get out and push the train. How bad, how bad do you want it? Blame the whole world for all of your woes. You don’t understand just how it goes. How bad, how bad do you want it?”
“Way Down In My Soul” is a tribute to classic country music stars.
Ever since Waylon stood up to the Nashville brass and told them he wanted to make music his own way, there’s been contention between Texas and Tennessee. With Terry’s song, “Too Texas For Tennessee,” he portrays the wide gap between what is called country music these days and Texas music!
A fun toe-tapper, “Raz A Ma Taz” makes you smile. It has a Dixieland jazz sound that you can’t help but be drawn into. “Come on over here baby. Let’s talk about the weather. We’ll devise us a plan to get together. I’d love to buy you a drink and hear what you really think about the birds and bees and liveoak trees and all manner of Raz a ma taz…”
“What I say Everyday” is poignant reminiscing for a lost love.
The album concludes with “Will You Miss Me.” This song touches me deep, having lost my husband eleven years ago. Well, here you go. Take a listen.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into a revered songwriter in the world of Texas music. Terry Rasor is a top-notch storyteller and entertainer!
-- Jan Sikes
Writing and Music 'SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT'
I JUST GOT HOME from Terry Rasor’s “Raz on the Braz” at Buck’s On The Brazos. Had I known it was going to take me so long to find it I’d at least have taken a change of clothes. The fact that I’ve been going there for years – and gotten lost every damned time – didn’t even cross my mind. I was positive I knew how to get there and was still stating my case on that point when my son wisely stopped at a convenience store and got directions (see, contrary to what women say -- men will do that if they get frustrated enough!) The scenery alone would have been worth the trip! The trees, grounds and river create a wonderful festival site – was even a breeze in this August-in-Texas heat!
My son Rusty, his wife Annette and I had a chance to “howdy” everybody just before Steven went onstage. We’d timed our arrival that way as all three of us are diabetics and Texas’ extreme heat throws your body thermostat into code red if you stay out in it long enough. (I tell you this so you won’t think we’re nuts for not staying to see an absolutely wonderful line up of entertainers)…but, back to what I was sayin’ -- saw our host, Terry Rasor -- undoubtedly one of the sweetest, most talented guys in the music business. He’s constantly on the move making sure his guests, the entertainers and everyone on the site is comfortable and happy and it appeared to me everyone was.
Terry had celebrated his 50th birthday August 11th – as had my son, Rusty. Couldn’t help but wonder if Terry’s mama had felt like I did 50 years ago – being pregnant during any part of August in Texas is proof of bad timing. In fact I decided the day Rusty was born that the whole pregnant thingy didn’t really appeal to me at any time of the year -- so I never did it again. Anyway, I digress – Terry is one of Texas’ best in the music business and we sure did enjoy visitin’ with him – and huggin’ his neck!
Steven went on at 6:00 o’clock and I was surprised to see so many folks bring their chairs and gather around the stage under the shade of the big ‘ol trees. I expected it would be kinda early for most festival goers but not these folks. They clapped and cheered and got right into the whole performance. Steven finished a great set and left the stage to a standing ovation – a really wonderful afternoon!
- Angela Blair (Steven Fromholz' sis)
TERRY RASOR IS ONE OF THOSE serious, independent, freedom-loving, in-your-face sorts of singer songwriters who makes it clear where he stands. On A Lonesome Sound, on the first song, titled, “My Last Song” and written by Roy Robinson, Rasor sings, “You can break me into pieces, but you’ll never make me small” and “you can draw me a picture, but I choose what I choose to see.” He does this sort of looking-back music well, setting the mood for many of the ten songs — five of them his own — that he delivers in an assertive baritone. That song is one of the CD’s highlights. Two more include the title song about papa staggering home from the company of old men, dominoes, and the music of Lefty Frizzell, George Jones, and Hank Snow and the pensive “Up and Gone,” about a lonely man who feels forgotten.
Rasor also sings of a bounty hunter’s confrontation with outlaws, a man who likes a little beer and a little weed, the last request of the gunfighter Billy the Kid, and a man who’s fought all his life to fulfill his dream. There’s also a hidden, solo acoustic track about taking a sip of home brew. He also sings that he’ll happily be a member of the “Honky Tonk Hall of Shame,” playing behind his share of chicken-wire fences, because he gets to make his music.
Produced by Rasor and Tommy Alverson, A Lonesome Sound is very good musically, benefitting from the talents of 16 people: himself on guitar and vocals, Alverson on gut string guitar and backing vocals, Ray Martin (harmonica), John Gunderson (drums), Randy Langley (acoustic and electric guitars), Ray Morris (electric bass), Dirt Stinnett (mandolin), Ray Austin (pedal steel, dobro), Amos Staggs (guest vocal), Brent Dacus (drums), Milo Deering (fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar), Jerry Abrams (acoustic upright bass), Davin James (gut string guitar), and Heather Stalling and Andie Kay Joyner of blacktopGYPSY (backing vocals).
Overall, this is a pretty good CD — country, if there’s any doubt — despite Rasor’s version of Robinson’s politically and culturally charged’“Minority Rule” which leaves no doubt about where he stands.
Some people will agree with his viewpoint, some will not.
- Tom Geddie, Buddy Magazine
TERRY RASOR HAS SPENT three-plus decades defining and refining a musical signature that refuses to be pigeon-holed. "Texas roadhouse country rock" was one journalist's cogent description of the tight, rhythym-driven sound delivered by Terry and his band, Over the Edge. But this Rasor has an acoustic edge; and that's what you'll hear on this disc, which contains songs representing the 1970s, '80s, '90s and on into the new century.
It was in the year 2000, in fact, that Rasor penned this CD's title song, "Write It Down", a minor-keyed memoir accented by Tommy Alversons flamenco-esque guitar passages. "I wrote that one at 39,000 feet," Terry says.
Are you wondering if, at the time, Terry was consuming the extract of hemp plants cultivated by a man named Skinny? (See cuts 10 through 12.) Shame on you. When he wrote "Write It" Terry was in an airplane returning from a blitzkrieg tour of Germany.
The first fans to hear "Write It Down" were attending the 2003 "Raz on the Braz" music festival on the Brazos River. The song Terry titles "The Stump" is suitable for hearing while rafting down the Brazos or the waterway of your choice. (He wrote it in 1977 while living on the shores of Lake Worth.)
Fittingly, "Write It Down" includes one number saluting the actual process of tune-smithing. "Workin' On A Song" has a boogeying beat driven by fiddles conversing with guitars in almost competitive rhythyms.
Another homage, "Rasor to Shaver", turns a delicious pun and some tasty vocals into a heartfelt tribute to outlaw icon Billy Joe Shaver.
Meanwhile, this compilation of songs is a hat tip to the artistry and the ongoing musical evolution of Terry Rasor. Drink in the sounds, with or without a river water chaser.
-Perry Stewart, Ft. Worth Star Teleg
TERRY RASOR SPENT HIS BIRTHDAY with over 700 fans at this years Raz on the Braz. This was the 11th annual Raz on the Braz and as usual it was a great time with some excellent music. This event was held at Bucks on the Brazos which is just north of Glen Rose on Highway 67 -- blink and you will buzz right by the Buck's small sign.
RV camping is up a small bluff above the music stage. They have 20 or so electric and water spots but they are very hard to get. There is plenty of camping in an open field by the electric sites. Tent camping and small RVs can head down the hill and find plenty of primitive camping under the live oaks and along the banks of the Brazos. All sites are within a 200 to 300 yard walk to the music.
The stage is set at the base of a small hill and under the live oaks and a short walk to the Brazos River -- which came in handy with the temperature running at 100 degrees this year! Terry had also set up a water mister up in the trees to help keep you cool. The setting is great and the crowds are small and friendly -- kids are welcome. This is a BYOB and BYOChairs and you can't beat the price at $40 for the entire concert and $5 per person per day for camping. One vendor who serves burgers, BBQ sandwiches, turkey legs and more is onsite to keep you from starving or from having to cook and miss the music.
The music started on Thursday night and some of Thursdays entertainment included: Davin James, Don Burke, Rene Sims, Scott Copeland, Tom McElvain, Sherwin Phillips, Andy Pate, and Gerald Sugg. We missed Thursday night but heard that Davin James was outstanding. On Friday the music started at 2:00 and included: Ronny Duwe, Scotty Shuffield, Big River, Texas Water, Randy Brown, Raz Trio, Fat Boys in the Round, and Ed Burleson was the headliner. Starting around noon on Saturday were Just Joan, The Banjo Babe, Max Attack, Coy Moore, Toucan Brothers, Sonny Burgess, Steve Fromholz, The Dust Devils, Nitzinger, Rusty Wier, and Terry Rasor and Over the Edge concluded around 1:30. Some of the highlights were the Toucan Brothers, Randy Brown, Terry Rasor, The Dust Devils, and good old music legend Rusty Wier.
Good music, small crowd, and a nice setting -- don't miss this one next year.
- Mike Sharp, Texas Outside
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