I was born, and live, in the middle of West Texas. Hot and dry. Except on the rare occasions when it rains, in which case it's hot and humid. Like a lot of folks out here, I play music because it seems to make me a little less crazy than when I don't. My album collection consists primarily of Willie and Waylon, Kris Kristofferson & John Prine. I dig BW Stevenson and Robert Earl. And of course, Jimmy Buffett. My music is naturally - and often, heavily - influenced by what I listen to. There are times when I will sit down and intentionally write a song that I can hear Willie Nelson singing, like "What'll I Do". Or "Cleveland", that I wrote as a tribute to Waylon Jennings. And then there are times when I think I have created something truly original, only to have it referred to as "that Buffett knock-off that you do." My new album consists of original compositions, plus "Again and Again" by a great friend and songwriter, Greg Long. And a Spanglish version of Steve Goodman's "You Never Even Called Me by My Name". (My part of the world is about 60% Mexican and largely bilingual. Goes over pretty well in the beer joints around here. Email me if you'd like a rough translation.) One of my favorite cuts on the new disc is "Pretending I Don't Mind." I wrote it several years ago as a duet. At the time, I was playing with a four piece hillbilly band. It didn't make sense lyrically to sing it by myself and although it might have made some sense, I certainly wasn't going to sing it with one of the boys. Not exactly the impression I wanted to make, especially in conservative West Texas. My wife Codi Zane graciously agreed to help me in the studio. That's her angelic soprano juxtaposed with my out-of-tune out-of-time vocal "stylings". I wrote "Old Friend" for my dad. His longtime best friend offed himself after years of battling depression. I remember going over to his buddy's house in the evenings and singing "Annie's Song" and "Country Roads" and a bunch of Simon & Garfunkel. Mac played a twelve-string Martin. Dad played tambourine, but for the song I felt like mandolin rhymed better. "Rosita" was recorded with one acoustic guitar and one straight-blown harmonica. This is one that I rarely play with a band. I like it stripped down like this and it's really difficult to pull the show's momentum back up to full-blown energy level after bringing it down this far. It's a good one for open mic or singer-songwriter nights though. "Circus Song" came about as the result of story I heard in a cafe at four in the morning. We lost a tire right outside of Cisco TX on our way to a show. We changed it and made the gig. When we packed up after last call, the spare was nearly flat. We hobbled down the highway to the all night Texaco and had bacon and eggs while they changed it. I was sitting with Rex, known to his friends as "that old midget-lover". Rex told me stories about his life with the carnival and his family back in Arkansas. They had some troubles and trials, he said, but he assured me that they always got into the circus for free. Finally, I'd like to dedicate "Letter to Buffett" to all the troubadours who've tried desperately to get their songs heard in crowded barrooms while drunken patrons clamored for "Margaritaville", "Brown Eyed Girl", and "Play some Skynyrd, Man!" I'm pretty proud of my new CD. I really I hope you'll buy 100 copies. But more importantly, I hope you enjoy it. --Darren Morrison, San Angelo Texas info@DarrensTunes.com.