with Gabe Garcia
$15.00 - $300.00
Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Rick Trevino is living the perfect life.
For Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Rick Trevino, Whole Town Blue is a celebration – of love that’s lost and love that endures, of beauty undimmed by time and heroes whose memories survive the ravages of war. Its stories stir laughter and tears, acknowledge the divisions between us and then bring us past all that and onto the dance floor.
Whether sizzling to South Texas swing (“Better in Texas”) or swaying to a sensual bolero (“Autumn Rose”), taking a honky-tonk trip with a detour to New Orleans (“Because of You”) or going back to the well of old-school country ballads (“Separate Ways”), Trevino engages with this music as few performers can.
Why? Pick the reason: the fruitful writing combination he continues with Mavericks songwriters Alan Miller and Raul Malo, the multiple cultures that have nourished his work since his gold-record debut 12 years ago, the embrace of his family, the long nights he’s clocked on the road from his Southwestern base to as far off as Europe.
But all of this ties to one common truth: Rick Trevino is doing exactly what he’s supposed to do: dividing his time between spending time with his family getting out on the road with his Austin-based band. The golden voice, the razor-sharp writing, the house-rockin’ shows, and the time spent back home with the ones he loves – what could be better?
So it was even in the beginning, when young Rick followed his father’s lead into music. Rooted in Texan and Mexican tradition, Rick Senior was obsessed with ‘60s and ’70s pop. “That made a big impression on me,” Rick remembers. “The music I heard as a child, from Elvis to George Jones, was organic and powerful – and it led me straight into country music.” After Columbia VP Steve Buckingham flew to Austin to hear Trevino perform in ’91, the young performer signed with the label and began a run of successes that included a gold album and several number one/Top Ten singles, including “She Can’t Say I Didn’t Cry” and “Learning As You Go.”
A turning point came in ’99, when he took part on the second release by the critically acclaimed, all-star ensemble Los Super 7. That was when he met and befriended Malo, who remains his regular writing partner, co-producer, and close friend to this day. Their collaborations won attention from producer Paul Worley (Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks), who signed Trevino and co-produced his Warner Bros. release, In My Dreams.
At this point, of course, Trevino is no longer a breakout sensation; instead, he stands at a pivotal point, his performance infused by the exuberance and soul of his earliest work yet seasoned by the pleasures and challenges that experience brings. “What keeps my juices flowing is the fact that earn my living from playing shows,” he insists. “I provide for my family by staying out on the road, and that keeps me focused on evolving as an entertainer – which means evolving as well as a singer and songwriter.”
The fruits of his progress as a writer are evident throughout Whole Town Blue, most of which he created through collaborations with Malo and Alan Miller. “It all starts with a routine monthly phone call to Paul Worley,” Trevino says. “I ask him and his wife Karen if ‘Casa de Trevino’ is available for the week, which is their upstairs guest house and loft in Nashville. Then I call Raul to make sure he’s not on the road and Alan to make sure he’s got time to write.”
If so, Trevino catches the next flight to town and prepares to begin work … although “work” might not seem like the right word for their routine. Gathering at Malo’s studio, he continues, “we try not to treat writing like a typical ‘Music Row’ session. We hang out, watch some football or baseball, talk about politics, religion, and the road. We make sure that we’re fed properly … and then the ideas start to flow. To be honest with you, when you’re working with guys who have as much musical integrity as Raul, Alan, and Paul Worley, you just follow where the music leads you, keeping it honest and real.”
That’s pretty much Whole Town Blue, to a T – except for one thing. As much as it sums up all that Trevino brings to the table, it points as well to where he’s going. “I was thinking about that this fall, when I went to see the Rolling Stones play at Zilker Park here in Austin,” he muses. “That was hands-down the best concert I’ve ever seen, not because of the amazing set or the 42,000 people who came to see them, but because they were having so much fun as they played. That’s how it was when I recorded with Freddie – and that’s how it is when I did Whole Town Blue. It’s that way when I’m on the road with my band.
“If making this music and entertaining ever stop being fun,” he sums up, “then there’d be no point to doing it anymore. But I don’t see how that’s ever going to happen.”
That’s our good fortune, as much as his – and more than enough reason to paint the Whole Town Blue.