It’s been a year since Matthew Logan Vasquez’s family moved to Norway without him.
Vasquez temporarily stayed behind in Wimberley, Texas, where an unfinished album and an upcoming tour demanded his attention. Although he eventually rejoined his wife and son in Oslo, Light’n Up — his third solo LP, as well as the darkest-sounding effort from the Delta Spirit frontman — captures that period of isolation and struggle. It also deals with his struggle to leave Texas, where the Austin-born songwriter returned after logging a number of years on the West Coast.
“Trailer Park,” one of the album’s few upbeat tracks, salutes Vasquez’s old neighborhood of Cedar Oak Mesa. Tucked into a bend of the Blanco River several miles southwest of downtown Wimberley, the neighborhood is a melting pot of Lone Star State demographics. “We’ve got Texans in every variety here: rednecks, hippies, Latinos, liberals and conservatives,” says Vasquez. But aside from that, we have a common thread of neighborliness, and we’re all just looking for the best bang for our buck in life. Being steps away from the Blanco River would certainly make anyone feel rich as hell.”
Filmed by Michael Parks Randa in a neighbor’s garage, the “Trailer Park” video shines a light on that diverse community. In a new video, a sunglassed Vasquez plays a house show while his neighbors dance and drink around him. Footage from a similar night in the mid-Nineties is spliced throughout the performance, drawing a line between present-day Cedar Oak Mesa and its not-so-different past.
“The garage is actually our little neighborhood bar, called Frank’s Full Moon Saloon,” says Vasquez, whose song channels Bruce Springsteen’s anthemic stride and the Replacements’ scuzzy pop hooks. “On the last night of recording, we had a going-away party, because I was about to move to Oslo. That’s what Michael Parks Randa and I wanted to recreate with this video. With our family and neighbors in attendance, we shot the video, we played a set, then our neighbor and bluesman Carl Weathersby joined in. After that, Frank took the helm behind his turntables, and away we went. This little neighborhood is heaven.”
Vasquez now lives in Norway between tours. Light’n Up hits American stores on February 22nd via Dine Alone Records.