Brent Ryan

Viva Terlingua!

Posted on March 21, 2018 in Musical Inspiration, Uncategorized, Updates

I’m grateful to report that, this month, I celebrate five years of being married to my wonderful wife, Emily. I say “grateful” rather than “proud” because, God knows, I don’t know that I had much to do with it! I mean, I showed up at the ceremony. I guess that’s worth something.

We celebrated by spending a few nights camping out in West Texas.  Two years ago we spent a couple of Spring nights out at Big Bend. This was a return journey for us. We have grown to love high desert climates.  There is something enchanting about all of that open rugged space. We love it.

This particular trip I had my sights set on visiting the little ghost town, Terlingua.  I knew about Terlingua primarily through the title of a Jerry Jeff Walker record.  However, in the past couple of years I’ve had little conversations with several musicians who have recommended the town as a worthwhile stop for a little unique experience. So, we made it a priority on our trip.

Terlingua. There isn’t much there. It’s primarily a ghost town, an old mining town that fell to shambles. But the shambles themselves are somewhat intriguing, the rough sketches of  times past drawn out in flat desert rock.  But there are some permanent residents in Terlingua. And many of them hangout at the porch of the main market in town, visiting over a cold beer and telling stories. The main hub of the town is the general store/souvenir shop, and then the Starlight theater which looks like it warped right out of an old Wyatt Earp movie.  There was a four-piece band entertaining us as we enjoyed Terlingua chili in the Starlight. The band consisted of a singer/guitar, stand-up bass, fiddle, and (of all things) flute.  They were just good enough to do the job and just bad enough to make the whole experiece seem to fit the rugged appeal of the town.

Terlingua reminded me a lot of Luckenbach, where I have spent a lot of time.  These little Texas hamlets are reminders that the old days aren’t really that old.  It’s less about time, and more about pace. I don’t think we have outgrown sitting on front porches and drinking beer and enjoying hours of conversation and connection. I think we have just gotten swept away from it with the complexities that come with the expectations of our lives these days.  A simple town lends itself to a simple life. And simplicity is a treasure. I see it in the folks who live at the little ranches near Luckenbach, who come into the bar every night at day’s end to see their old friends and meet new strangers. Terlingua is for people who want to shift into a slower gear, and rediscover the value of meeting interesting people.  It’s about story. And we all have one worth telling.