Jimmy Spacek sits in the green room at Sam's Burger Joint and Music Hall, holding a photo of his first band, Undecided Mynd, playing at Hemisfair '68.

It’s been a long time coming for Jimmy Spacek’s fourth CD release, but fans of the blues rocker will find it was worth the wait.

“Peace and Distortion” will be released at a show at Sam’s Burger Joint and Music Hall on Sunday, Jan. 31. The show, co-sponsored by the San Antonio Blues Society, will feature several special guests: Ruben V, the West Side Horns, Catherine Denise, and some surprises as well.

Spacek’s been working on new material on and off since his last CD, “No Turning Back,” was released in 2003. The ideas behind most of the 10 songs on “Peace and Distortion” have been around in some format in that 13-year break. It was a standing joke with friends who asked, “When are you coming out with your next CD?” His good-natured reply would always be, “I’m working on it, I’m working on it.” It wasn’t until he retired from his “day job” two years ago, that he was able to focus on songwriting again.

“About half the songs I’ve had around for a while. I either reworked them or combined parts of them,” he said. “Some of the songs changed completely and morphed into new ones.”

One of the songs that underwent revision is “Broken Man.” Spacek added lyrics to the tale of a homeless person to refer to him as a military veteran. A U.S. Army veteran himself, Spacek got the idea after working with other former service members in the nonprofit program, “Soldier Songs and Voices.”

On another song, “Five Long Years,” Spacek looked to his idol Johnny Winter for inspiration.

“The riff just came to me and ‘Five Long Years’ just seemed to fit,” he said. The voice he uses to sing the song is nearly unrecognizable as Spacek’s.

“I used to sing more like that growl. I had a character going – Johnny Winter was my hero and I tried to sing like him. But I’ve had issues with my throat, plus the cedar and allergies were really giving me problems, so over the years I’ve tried not to grind my throat.”

The title track of the CD is Spacek’s politically correct way of saying there’s too much negativity in the world.

“In the end, we all want the same thing – peace,” he said. “But all the distortion – like the stuff on Facebook – always gets in the way.”

Jimmy Spacek stands by a photo of him with Ruben V. Spacek's guitar is signed by his blues hero,
Johnny Winter. The photo, taken by Annette Crawford, hangs outside at Sam's Burger Joint and
Music Hall at 330 E. Grayson near Broadway.

Spacek also returns to his roots in one song, aptly titled, “South Side San Antone.” He references many musicians who have influenced him over the years – the Cave Dwellers, Augie Meyers, Randy Garibay, Doug Sahm and Spot Barnett. A graduate of Highlands High School, Spacek was just a teenager when he and his first band, Undecided Mynd, played at Hemisfair ’68.

Spacek’s band for Sunday night will feature the same musicians he used in the studio – Val Cronk on bass and Gene Godley on drums. Cronk also sings lead vocals on one of the CD tracks – “People Rain and Shine.”

“We started out taking turns, going back and forth between the two of us. Then when I was working in the booth I had Val sing the whole song. When I heard it, it just felt right to me to have him do it entirely,” he said.

Friends and even casual acquaintances of Spacek won’t find that surprising. He’s known as the “Blues Godfather of San Antonio” – not in the Don Corleone way, but rather for the mentorship and generosity he’s shown to fellow musicians his whole life.

A lyric from “South Side San Antone” probably describes him the best: “I learned to listen to the heart and play from the soul.”

Tickets for Spacek’s show Jan. 31 are $7, and are available at the door and online at http://ticketf.ly/1Jw8FnX.  (At publication time, only one booth remained.) Doors open at 6 and the music starts at 7.


Unknown said…
I think I need to move to San Antone... Great article, Annette.

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