Gypsy Songman

By the time we were old enough to appreciate him, Jerry Jeff Walker was a mere caricature of himself, churning out lame Jimmy Buffet-esque albums (Cowboy Boots & Bathing Suits, anyone?) and dutifully playing his hits for drunk frat boys while working the brand name of whatever beer happened to be sponsoring his tour into every other lyric. But as we've worked our way through his back catalog, it's been easy to see why he was once so revered--albums like 1975's Ridin' High and 1973's Viva Terlingua stand easily amongst the finest fare of the Outlaw period, with a playful funkiness that's woefully absent from most of the John Mellencamp-lite that masquerades as "Texas country" these days. And like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, Walker was just as great at interpreting his friends' material as he was playing his own formidable originals, a skill that's largely lost on the "Texas Country" set as long as there are still songs about tubin' and driving down I-35 to be written. We continue to hope for a late period artistic resurgence from Walker, but until then, seeing him play the hits Saturday at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco will have to do. His son Django Walker opens the show at 7 p.m. Tickets are $19.50 to $29.50; proceeds benefit the Frisco RoughRiders Foundation. Call 1-800-745-9277 or visit ticketmaster.com.
Sat., Oct. 9, 7 p.m., 2010

 
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