I played the song Tina Louise in the first Country band I was in: Rowdy and the Rivets, in Marin County, California in the mid-seventies. I later recorded the song on my first instrumental guitar CD, Coney Island Moon around the early nineties, and I have included it in subsequent collections. Kevin “Blackie” Farrell occupies an interesting niche in songwriting; he is an authentic embodiment of the progression from authentic working man’s art form to the genre-busting songwriters of the 60s and 70s, such as Willie Nelson, Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt, and Hoyt Axton. His songs are simultaneously inventive, heartfelt, and humorous. Mama Hated Diesels and Sonora’s Death Row are stone cold classics, and Blackie himself, a lifelong Telecaster enthusiast, has always treated me with the utmost kindness and friendliness.
Blackie Farrell songs are as real and as strange as Remington paintings, a throwback to the greats of country music, with a classical sense of myth and
– Jeffrey Foucault
Blackie Farrell’s Sonora’s Death Row turned my head around and deeply influenced my writing. Blackie is one of the finest original voices in American songwriting. It’s about time he made this record. There’s no bullshit to this guy and his work. He’s the real deal. Worthy of support.
I’m indebted to Asleep at the Wheel for recommending two of Blackie’s songs years ago: Rockabilly Funeral and Sonora’s Death Row. Beautiful songs. After playing one of Blackie’s songs, you’ve been there with him. I know Sonora’s death row. I don’t remember the song, I remember the cell. I remember what happened in Amanda’s. Farrell put me there… Mark Twain needed a whole book, Farrell does it with a song.
Imagine if Chuck Bery, Marty Robbins and Mark Twain got together to write some songs, those songs would sound a lot like Blackie Farrell’s songs but couldn’t be anywhere near as good. Blackie Farrell is absolutely one of America’s great undiscovered national treasures.
Welcome to America’s very best unknown songwriter only 40 years in the making . Blackie has been with us since the beginning; a great friendship and working relationship. He’s the best, and now you get to hear him at last!
– Commander Cody
For 44 years I’ve been hauling around a cardboard box labeled “Blackie.” I’ve lost, tossed, or recycled countless cassette demos I’ve been given over the years, but the Blackie Farrell song tapes stay close. He’s smuggled me into the trucker’s mind, out on the rodeo circuit, to a fire pit in the rail yard, to cajun country, Lonely Town, and the Lost and Found, all through his extraordinary songs: no trends, no gimmicks, no filler. Blackie Farrell’s always been an astonishingly good craftsman. Now he’s an artist, and a great one. He’s got a grip on hope and on the awful truth, and he isn’t afraid to tell it to ya straight up. If you’re smart, you’ll listen.
– Chris O’Connell
I don’t think of California as cold, but it got that way that night.
Blackie found a plug-in heater for the spare room and we sat in there
picking through our old pile of song scraps looking for a good one.
Pretty late, Blackie slipped out, left me a blanket and guitar and I fell asleep.
I guess he went out for a reride around the canyon, out there where ghost riders hobble their nightmares,
‘cause come morning he’d rounded up all those wild scattered thoughts into perfect sense,
that rhymed. Like Blackie always does.
Made for a wicked good tune. He’s as good as you’re gonna find.
– Leroy Preston