Last weekend was a pretty good weekend for Jim Heath. For the fourth year running, he got to enjoy the spoils of performing at his own music festival (well, combination music and tattoo festival) as his alter ego, the Reverend Horton Heat, with not one but two performances during the Elm St. Music and Tattoo Festival. As far as Deep Ellum fests go, this one has an uncanny feel for what makes the neighborhood tick. And Heath should know.
Before the good Reverend's set at The Bomb Factory on Friday night (he played another, acoustic set at Three Links later in the weekend), Heath took to the streets for the latest installment of Globe Trek Productions' busking series for the Dallas Observer. And in the video, he's not afraid to admit that he's "pretty entrenched here." In fact, this is a different Heath than you might be used to seeing, trading in his slicked-back hair and two-tone jacket for a baseball hat and glasses. More like Incognito Horton Heath.
But Heath is in a particularly reflective mood in the video, reminiscing about his involvement in the early days of Deep Ellum's first wave in the '80s. Or was it second wave? "It was really a rebirth, because it was an old thing," Heath says, recalling that his first-ever gig as the Reverend was at the original Prophet Bar. "I would rent out my PA and then eventually started playing my own gigs."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The neighborhood has come a long way since then, and it has taken another rebirth to get to where it is today. But it's good to have guys like Heath around, all these years later — even if the passage of time is its own cause for thought. "I've definitely attained old fart status, I think," he says with a laugh.
Watch below as Heath performs "It's a Dark Day" and "Longest Gonest Man."