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Wild Blooms
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The Lones / Panic Choir

Wild Blooms

This story is the kind I love to tell, as an artist and as an appreciator of other artists. It starts with a blog item I posted quite a while ago:

In Search of the Lones (July 2002)

Who were the Lones? Some time back - maybe seven, maybe as many as ten years ago - the band produced a tape I heard, along with many others, while working as a craftsperson. My boss also had another job. He wrote a music column for our local paper (the Fort Collins Coloradoan). At the shop, which kept our hands busy but left our minds free, we listened to whatever promotional material found its way to Tim's mailbox each week.

My first hearing of Big Circle Texas was like a lightning strike. The Lones, a band out of Midlothian, Texas, reached and moved and captivated me like nothing I'd ever heard before. I loved (and still do) the female lead singer's voice and the harmonies with the male singer. I love the percussion in "I See the Tears," the danger and foreboding of "Trespassin'," the barely contained anger of "Giving It All Away," the biting sorrow of "Wino Dream," the spirituality of "From My Knees." All the lyrics of every song, especially one line, "I'd sell anything to buy some time." And oh yes, the driving guitar. I just purely love their sound - who can explain these things? Passion, whether it's for a person or for a work of art, is always, in the final analysis, unanalyzable, a mystery.

So I was going to hear the Lones live, because they were coming to Fort Collins on tour. Tim was going to write about them in his column. But when the day came for the phone interview, nothing happened. None of it ever came to pass, because the Lones had broken up.

In the years since, I've listened to that eight-song tape more times than any other album I have. It was the mood music I played constantly for months during the most serious era of my life as a writer, the sound track for the work I'm proudest of. Forget about "10 Desert Island Albums." Big Circle Texas is my one desert island album. It's on the shortlist of what I'd run for if the house caught fire.

Why am I looking for the Lones? Partly because I wonder: are there other tapes from practices or live performances, any rejected tracks from the demo? Somewhere in a closet or a file cabinet, is there more Lones music? And whoever has it, could they possibly be persuaded to share?

The second reason is: with the insatiable curiosity of a journalist and the inflamed imagination of a fictionalist, I long to know the Story. What happened to the Lones? What struggles and conflicts led to the dissolution of such an awesome collaboration? With so much going for them, what dreadful forces could have caused them to disband? What have they been doing since then? Not my business, you might say, and you'd be right. Still, as a writer, I wish I knew.

But the most basic motivation, the one that really drives this quest, is the simple impulse to pay tribute, to express my ever-expanding appreciation for their art. I hope that somehow they can know. Whoever they were, wherever they are, I want to tell the Lones how much their music has meant, and after all this time still means, to me. I want to say thanks for those eight songs.


I made some detective-like moves: some long-distance calls, some letters, and a whole slew of e-mails to other Texas musicians whose addresses were easy to find, because in my experience musicians generally tend to know each other over wide areas. Once, when referred to a former newspaper publisher with the reputation of knowing everybody in the music scene, I thought I was close…. but no such luck. I got interested in other projects.

It took some time after that piece went online, but the Web worked its magic. Three years later, almost to the day, an e-mail came from a Texas woman who had not only heard the Lones but seen them play live in clubs many times, and she was just as crazy about them as I was. She contributed the musicians’ names, Kevin Johnson and Carol Turner, and the information that they had reformed into a band called Panic Choir.

I don’t know why my fellow fan didn’t pursue it farther, but I did, and found out pretty quickly that the core couple who made up the Lones/Panic Choir had again changed personnel and transmogrified into the Wild Blooms. Better yet, the Wild Blooms have a website and two CDs. Nineteen more songs, added to the eight I already adore.

Even better, their website has a mailing address, so I sent a short e-mail with a link to my blog page. After all these years, my love letter to the Lones finally reached their eyes.

Carol Turner was kind enough to reply, and here’s the cosmic part: While they were Panic Choir, my favorite Texas musicians spent a couple of years in Venice Beach, CA, before moving on to Colorado. So this tale of psycho-aesthetic closure legitimately belongs to Virtual Venice, tying together disparate parts of my life in a way that speaks of a larger pattern. And that, for me, is what it’s all about.

visit the Wild Blooms own website

 

© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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