Lincoln Durham started playing violin at age 4 via the Suzuki Method of instruction. By 8, he was hiding on stage facing the wall playing fiddle with the Osceola Opry–a loose association of players who met monthly in an old wooden schoolhouse to cover Hank Williams and Bill Monroe songs for the gathered farmers and country folk. Durham picked up the guitar in his early 20’s, which captivated his interest more than the fiddle ever had. Wandering through a period of singer-songwriter expression, Lincoln still felt pulled by something different in music, but had not been able to define it for himself, let alone have it clearly expressed in music.
He did not really find his musical voice until a year of “wood shedding” in solitude–rarely interacting with anyone other than the person making his meal in a take-out shop, and only out of necessity. Without television or radio, Durham read and wrote profusely. Lincoln prefers dark works that reflect the intense feelings he expresses in music, from Edgar Allan Poe to Cormac McCarthy. This reclusive process allowed him to reflect more than he wanted, evaluated who he really was more than he intended, and ultimately to write more plainly than he thought he could. The lyrics became straightforward and raw, depressing and cutting, intentional and introspective.
By the time his most recent record was released, Lincoln Durham had recorded and re-recorded some songs several times, as his self-evaluation and reflection changed through performance and critique, and the sound would vastly change until he found what he wanted himself to sound like. Durham’s long-time friend, Ray Wylie Hubbard “got” Lincoln’s essence, in some ways, before Durham himself figured out what he was. This partnership translates cleanly to recording, and teaming with George Rieff, Rick Richards, and Hubbard brought the expansive, but replicable, sound that Lincoln sought. Although he generally performs as a sort of one-man band, Lincoln Durham’s performance is expansive, captivating, and loud–not a quiet singer-songwriter on stage with a guitar any more at all.
Songs in Episode #1217 include:
- From The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones: “Mud Puddles,” “How Does a Crow Fly,” “Last Red Dawn”
- Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Grifter’s Hymnal “Hen House,” chosen because this tune is co-written with Matt King, who is also mentioned in this show
- Band of Heathens,Top Hat Crown & The Clapmaster’s Son “Free Again,” not only fellow Austin musicians, but also partners in some of Lincoln’s songwriter nights at Gruene Hall
- The Black Keys, Rubber Factory “Act Nice & Gentle” getting big sounds from only 2 people on stage
- Cowboy and Indian, “Ledbellies (Hurt My Pride)” one of Lincoln’s favorite bands to hear when he gets a chance
- The Bearfoot Hookers, Beer Drinkin’ Gospel Revival “Memphis” from next week’s radio show, Episode 1218–one of their songs will be in an upcoming episode of Hart of Dixie with Rachel Bilson