Formed in 2010, the band Goodnight, Texas, are an unsigned indie roots folk band with an interesting story behind their name. The two main members are Avi Vinocur from San Francisco and Patrick Dyer Wolf from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In a clever move to decide on a band name, the pair decided to locate a geographic mid-point between their two cities, which sit at opposite coasts of the continental United States, to come up with their name. It just so happened that Goodnight, an unincorporated community of 18 people located in the northern Texas panhandle on the outskirts of Amarillo, was the one.
However, they did have to dip a little bit more south between the actual two cities to find their spot. More importantly is how remarkable it is that two musicians from completely different communities and cultures were able to come together from such distance to create an authentic-sounding folk style, with obvious roots folk and even bluegrass influences, as evidenced on their new single released this past week, “Jesse Got Trapped In A Coal Mine.” Vinocur’s deep ancestral roots in the Appalachian hills of western Maryland show through the mandolin-driven elegy, “Jesse Got Trapped In A Coal Mine.”
“I grew up hearing stories more or less like ‘Jesse Got Trapped in a Coal Mine’ about distant relatives of mine,” says Vinocur. “As a kid I would pore over our collections of 19th century tintype photographs of relatives and friends of our family, and I became fascinated with life that long ago. It seemed so dark and beautiful, but unknown: the clothes, the weathered faces. That fascination became a theme for this new record of ours. To me, ‘Jesse’ is like one of those family stories – you’ll never know if it really happened that way, but you choose to pass it down anyway.”
Together with bassist Jonathan Kirchner, drummer Andrew Laubacher, and sometimes other musicians, Goodnight, Texas has produced a dynamic range out of a ragged orchestra, and American stories that should be welcoming to many fans of roots folk.
“Jesse Got Trapped In A Coal Mine” – Goodnight, Texas from A Long Life of Living