The unincorporated town of Goodnight, Texas sits halfway between the homes of San Francisco's Avi Vinocur and North Carolina's Patrick Dyer Wolf, whose transcontinental collaboration has adopted the name of its geographic midpoint. After meeting in San Francisco and learning each other's melodies, the pair of songwriters found their stride amidst old wooden instruments and a vision of late nineteenth century blue collar America - a grittier, simpler, more mysterious world full of raw pain and beauty.
The band's debut LP A Long Life of Living breathes fascination with the fading memory of generations in our country's patchwork of opportunity, immigration, and tragedy, and muses on our own era's place in the story. Vinocur's deep ancestral roots in the Appalachian hills of western Maryland are alive in songs like "Jesse Got Trapped In A Coal Mine," a mandolin-driven elegy for a doomed young fiancé. The song is at once heavy, dusty, and so catchy as to be instantly memorable. Wolf's lyrical wistfulness echoes his recent migration from Northeast to West to South. He reflects on the fleetingness and importance of life's minutia in "Car Parts and Linens," staring eternity in the face from a porch rocking chair and drawing on North Carolina's stylistic petri dish on the album's terminal ballad.
While they are clearly different writers, the Wolf/Vinocur venn diagram is consistently compelling. Together with Alex Nash, Scott G. Padden and sometimes others, Goodnight, Texas has the dynamic range of a ragged orchestra and the beginnings of a story that will stand the test of time.