Goodnight, Texas gets its name from the town midway between the homes of San Francisco’s Avi Vinocur and North Carolina’s Patrick Dyer Wolf who refer to themselves as a transcontinental collaboration. Their debut album A Long Life of Living is a collection of well-crafted, sweet, thoughtful, and sometimes even fun modern folk songs delivered with precision and heart. To me the music of Goodnight, Texas is what I wish audiences who adore Mumford & Sons would listen to, and who knows perhaps they will. These songs seem just as accessible to a wide audience, yet to me are superiorly crafted both lyrically and musically.
A Long Life of Living begins with the creative play on Bob Dylan’s classic “Maggie’s Farm” called “I’m Going to Work on Maggie’s Farm Forever” where instead of defiance, the narrator this time seems resolved to his fate despite his fantasies of offing the boss and burning the whole place to the ground. The song is deep and sung with dramatic beauty of something reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.” I know when a song is particularly well written when I wake up with it stuck in my head. This actually happened to me with two separate songs on separate occasions while listening to this album over the course of a couple of weeks – “I’m Going to Work on Maggie’s Farm Forever” and “Old Saint John.” Both great songs that tend to stick with you. One of my favorites found on this album is the truly beautiful “California You’re a Hole in My Heart.” While the other stand-out for me is “The Railroad,” a slightly dark throbbing rootsy blues drive with haunting vocal group call and response lines.
There’s just a lot to like about this album. Give it a listen and see for yourself.