It’s been a year since Matthew Logan Vasquez’s family moved to Norway without him.
Vasquez temporarily stayed behind in Wimberley, Texas, where an unfinished album and an upcoming tour demanded his attention. Although he eventually rejoined his wife and son in Oslo, Light’n Up — his third solo LP, as well as the darkest-sounding effort from the Delta Spirit frontman — captures that period of isolation and struggle. It also deals with his struggle to leave Texas, where the Austin-born songwriter returned after logging a number of years on the West Coast.
“Trailer Park,” one of the album’s few upbeat tracks, salutes Vasquez’s old neighborhood of Cedar Oak Mesa. Tucked into a bend of the Blanco River several miles southwest of downtown Wimberley, the neighborhood is a melting pot of Lone Star State demographics. “We’ve got Texans in every variety here: rednecks, hippies, Latinos, liberals and conservatives,” says Vasquez. But aside from that, we have a common thread of neighborliness, and we’re all just looking for the best bang for our buck in life. Being steps away from the Blanco River would certainly make anyone feel rich as hell.”
Filmed by Michael Parks Randa in a neighbor’s garage, the “Trailer Park” video shines a light on that diverse community. In a new video, a sunglassed Vasquez plays a house show while his neighbors dance and drink around him. Footage from a similar night in the mid-Nineties is spliced throughout the performance, drawing a line between present-day Cedar Oak Mesa and its not-so-different past.
“The garage is actually our little neighborhood bar, called Frank’s Full Moon Saloon,” says Vasquez, whose song channels Bruce Springsteen’s anthemic stride and the Replacements’ scuzzy pop hooks. “On the last night of recording, we had a going-away party, because I was about to move to Oslo. That’s what Michael Parks Randa and I wanted to recreate with this video. With our family and neighbors in attendance, we shot the video, we played a set, then our neighbor and bluesman Carl Weathersby joined in. After that, Frank took the helm behind his turntables, and away we went. This little neighborhood is heaven.”
Vasquez now lives in Norway between tours. Light’n Up hits American stores on February 22nd via Dine Alone Records.
Here are his scheduled tour dates:
May 7 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Tower Studio
May 8 – Davenport, IA @ Raccoon Motel
May 9 – Minneapolis, MN – Icehouse
May 10 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas
May 11 – Indianapolis, IN @ HIFI
May 13 – Toronto, ON @ The Monarch
May May 15 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
May 16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
May 17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
May 18 – Washington, DC @ DC9
May 20 – Charleston, SC @ The Royal American
May 21 – Decatur, GA @ Eddie’s Attic
May 22 – Nashville, TN @ High Watt
May 24 – Dallas, TX @ Kessler Theater
May 25 – Houston, TX @ Heights Theater
June 20 – Costa Mesa, CA @ The Wayfarer
June 21 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
June 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan
June 25 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
June 26 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
June 28 – Seattle, WA @ The Sunset
June 29 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
July 1 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
July 2 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
July 5 – Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn