Welch is July’s songwriter guest at library


Special to the LPR

Evenings with the Songwriter, the monthly series of the historic Dr. Eugene Clark Library, will feature Dustin Welch as guest on the last Tuesday of the month, July 25, at 7 p.m. Now in its 11th season, the acclaimed series is free to the public, hosted and produced by veteran Lockhart songwriter Fletcher Clark.

Raised in Tennessee and son of songwriter Kevin Welch, Ductin’s early band members were also offspring of celebrated musicians (Steve Earle and Gary Nicholson) — plus Cary Ann Hearst, the girl kid down the street who grew into an astonishing writer and singer. Moms and dads attended their gigs with the same devotion with which they had come to their Little League ball games.

Inspired by his early exposure to such a vast wealth of revolutionary music, Welch later began devising a unique style of his own — finger-style, open-tuned, Appalachian-flavored grooves and melodies coupled with literate lyrics, strange and beautiful. He wrote the songs by himself, with friends, relatives, and the friends of relatives.

After coming to Austin in 2009, Welch released his first album, titled ‘Whisky Priest’, after the main character in Graham Greene’s consummate novel, ‘The Power and the Glory.’ Others eventually followed: ‘Tijuana Bible’ in 2013 and ‘Amateur Theater in 2019. Nowadays, he plays and tours on his own, with his band, and more than ever before, with his father, Kevin. The highlight of Welch’s active schedule is hosting a weekly songwriting and guitar workshop in San Marcos for Armed Forces veterans. “It’s inspiring. It’s a beautiful thing,” he said.

Clark has ahigh praise for Welch.

“Dustin is at the crest of this next wave of great Texas songwriters,” Clark said. “That he hails from San Marcos speaks of the change in the cultural winds. While Austin — now ‘ATX’ — may still imagine itself to be the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ it is certainly no longer the center of Texas songwriting. The freshness of Dustin’s lyrics and melodies springs from a vibrant continuation of traditional music.”

Evenings with the Songwriter presents songwriters with a focus that could not be experienced through the press, in clubs, nor even in house concerts and workshops. The 2023 season will continue with Matthew Wise, Eric Gerber, and Mark Jungers, concluding in November with HalleyAnna Finlay.


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