Texas Music icon Tommy Alverson made his first appearance on the Real Life Real Music Songwriter Series with host Kyle Hutton at Dosey Doe last night and did not disappoint. He kicked off the show with “Maybe in Mexico” from his Live @ Pour David’s Pub CD. Alverson introduced the song, written by legend Jerry Max Lane, with the story of how Lane dropped a copy off after writing Alverson’s name numerous times around the cover. Lane told Alverson as he handed him the copy, “I wrote this and your name’s all over it!”
For the next number, Tommy eloquently painted a picture for the RLRM crowd about the small town where he grew up. Alverson’s son Justin approached him with the song idea written about Itasca, Texas aptly named “My Hometown.” The father-son collaboration can also be found on the Live @ Pour David’s Pub CD.
From there Hutton and Alverson compared interactions with fellow songwriter Walt Wilkins. Tommy spoke about meeting Wilkins for the first time at Luckenbach; a story about common friend Sam Baker (Itasca); and how Wilkins has inspired not only himself, but countless other artists. Hutton agreed, adding his name to the long list. Alverson proudly admitted his status as an “Honorary member of Wilkins’ band The Mystiqueros!” So, in honor of their mutual admiration of Walt Wilkins, Hutton sang “What I Dreamed Last Night,” a beautiful song written by the two at a Rudy’s BBQ picnic table in Austin.
After the song, Hutton asked Alverson to talk about his Texas Music Family Gathering, now in their 16th year. Tommy said he truly looks forward to spending time with his musical friends and the incredible fans that descend on Mineral Wells each October. He admits they’ve scaled back this year to get closer to “how it all started and the essence of a true family gathering.” Hutton encouraged patrons to check out the lineup and additional information at www.tommyalverson.com.
Hutton the asked Alverson to play what he considered his “biggest” hit and Tommy broke into story about “Uno Mas Cerveza” and how he found out it was a “hit”. The song went out to radio with no promotion and a record label exec called Alverson and informed him the song was at number one on the Texas Music Chart. He said, looking back, he should’ve seized opportunities the song provided and toured more but other things seemed more important at the time. Alverson went on to share how his plumber, Wayne Nelson, knocked on his door early one morning eager to pass along his song idea. Nelson was returning from a trip to Mexico and laid out the concept based on the only Spanish he knew or needed was “Uno Mas Cerveza.” Tommy went on to say he purposefully listed his writing partner as W. Nelson in the credits and to this day people ask him about writing with Willie.
Hutton and Alverson moved on to the “Pickin on Willie” CD and how the record came together, including an appearance by Willie himself. Long time friend Johnny Bush came in to help cut several songs on the tribute and before he got away, Alverson asked him to listen to a song he’d written about Nelson. Bush was so moved, he asked if he could play the song “Watchin Willie’s Hands” for Nelson. The answer was obvious and the next week, Bush called Tommy and said…”here’s Willie,” and handed the phone to Nelson who admitted to a stunned Alverson how honored he was by the tribute. As the two talked, Nelson said “hey, let’s do one together for your record.” So, the tribute was honored by the man himself as Willie played and sang on “Night Life” for Alverson’s release.
Songs four and five were both tributes to friends Johnny Bush (Sounds of a Heartache) and Rusty Weir (How Good a Bad Woman Feels). Alverson still struggles to speak of his dear friend Weir who passed away a few years ago following a long battle with cancer. So, the evening came to end with storied songwriter Tommy Alverson and the RLRM patrons left satisfied with their own versions of each song. Just as it should be.