“Writing a song is a lot like writing a short story,” says Jonathan Clay, guitarist and vocalist for the Texas duo Jamestown Revival. “You have three minutes to build a character and endear him to the listener.” For their latest release, Fireside with Louis L’Amour, Clay and his bandmate, Zach Chance, put that theory to the test, writing songs directly inspired by the late frontier writer’s short stories.
The six-song EP includes tracks based on the first six tales from The Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour, Volume 1: Frontier Stories. “We didn’t give ourselves the choice to skip over any, even though some lend themselves to songs better than others,” Clay says. “We wanted that challenge.”
A National Book Award winner and prolific writer, L’Amour published more than a hundred novels and short stories, often centered around the American West. The author has long been a major influence on the duo, who grew up in the tiny town of Magnolia, Texas, and began singing together when they were fifteen. “The first book we read of his was his memoir, called Education of a Wandering Man, and we actually named an album after that,” Clay says. “He writes about doing odd jobs, traveling the country, working on boats and trains, all while keeping a clean slate and just accepting your journey. That really resonated with us as we were building our career and making music.”
Today, Garden & Gun is proud to premiere “Bound for El Paso,” which recalls L’Amour’s “The Gift of Cochise,” the same tale John Wayne adapted into the movie Hondo in 1953. Watch the duo’s video for the track below, filmed in Durango, Colorado. Fireside with Louis L’Amour is out this Friday and available for preorder here.