ROSIE FLORES RETURNS
By Lisa Lynn Morgan
Photo Credit: Mark Guerro
Rosie Flores’ Pappy & Harriet’s Reunion
with James Intveld “Together Again”
March 25, 2022
Doors: 8 pm Tickets $20
Rosie Flores has such an earthy, natural charm in conversation, you forget you’re talking to a seriously accomplished musician. Her ambition and optimism never give away the amount of time she’s spent in one of the toughest industries for any artist, especially for a woman who blazed her trail by handily wielding an electric guitar. Being named “Top 75 Greatest Female Guitarists of All Time,” by Venuszine, receiving “Best Female Honkytonk Artist” and “Best Female Rockabilly Artist” in the fan voted Ameripolitan Awards, alongside a Peabody Award, hasn’t left this incredibly bright woman resting on her laurels. The whole of Austin, Texas even declared August 31st “Rosie Flores Day,” and yet there’s no sign of arrogance or self-importance…only the pursuit of the next creative endeavor, and a deep appreciation for the fellow musicians she finds herself surrounded by.
It is safe to say that Rosie Flores’ bright and beautiful essence has not tarnished one bit, pandemic be damned.
“I made lemonade out of lemons, as they say,” Flores shared, when asked how she handled the pandemic and the shutdown of the music industry as we knew it. “I’ve been writing my memoirs for the last 10 years. I had time to go through some files – contracts, notes, letters to my parents – they go all the way back to the 80s. If I didn’t have the time to do that, they’d still be sitting there, and now they can go in my book. I also learned piano and ukulele.”
“My record label, Mule Kick Productions, got me set up on livestreams. I performed 54 of them on Facebook. Every Wednesday at happy hour (4:30 Pm PST), I’d do what I called, “Three’s a Charm.” I’d learn the guitar parts, and lyrics to three songs. One week I’d do a tribute to Elvis Costello, another week it would be The Everly Brothers. It kept me on my toes. When I’d get frantic, I’d say, ‘Settle down Rosie, it’s your job.’ Made my attitude about it better. It put food on the table and paid my bills too. I’ve been one of the fortunate ones who hasn’t gotten sick.”
“The downside was, it put a stop to my career, and I’m still trying to get going again. I had an agent, had dates for Europe, I looked forward to good money in 2020, but like everyone else, the pandemic slapped us in the face. But I made good stuff happen.”
Flores is deeply nostalgic about Pappy and Harriet’s and is happy to be making a return in March. “A friend told me about Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, so I called the number, and we became regulars there. We were one of the few, if not the only, bands out of L.A. that would go there regularly to play. We’d stay at the motel, tromp around Cap Rock, come back to eat wonderful smoked chickens, and set up and play. We’d live out there most of that week, play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, then have brunch on Sunday before heading back.”
“Pappy and I would go have coffee and donuts at the Jelly Donut and sit around jawing with his old buddies. We’d get Pappy and Harriet up to sing during our show. Pappy would sing, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” Harriet had the most beautiful voice and could sing any country song. Her granddaughter would even join us – she had a beautiful voice as well. Local artisans would come to our shows and make me the most beautiful gifts, like a beautiful leather tooled guitar strap and artwork.”
“In 1988, I moved to Austin, so I didn’t get to come back to the Palace as much, but I always dreamed of having a place up there. It will be very nostalgic returning to Pappy and Harriet’s on a couple of levels. While we’re no longer a couple, James and I are good friends and share colossal respect for each other musically. This will be our first show together. It’s not often we get to perform each other, and this will be the first show we perform ‘Together Again.’”
Throughout her pilgrimage, one could say that Rosie Flores has done as much for the great women in music that preceded her, as she has done for herself. Her 1995 release of Rockabilly Filly received major attention, and reintroduced rockabilly pioneers Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin to audiences worldwide, through their duets with Rosie. The release was followed up with a successful 1995 tour with Jackson. In 2007, Flores brought Janis Martin to a recording studio in Blanco, Texas, to record what would be both Martin’s first solo album in thirty years as well as her last before succumbing to cancer. After the project was turned down by several record labels, Flores raised more than $16,000 on Kickstarter to release the album, which was titled, Janis Martin: The Blanco Sessions.
Working Girls Guitar, an album she states, “is one of the best records I’ve ever recorded,” was a first for Flores as she is not only the producer, but is the only guitar player, which garnered feature stories in Guitar World, Premiere Guitar, and Guitar Player.
Flores’ most recent album, A Simple Case of the Blues, topped blues charts upon its release in 2019, even advancing above the great Joe Bonamassa for a time. “This album felt like a gift to me from the people around me who have shown me so much support,” shared Flores. “I don’t think I’ve ever sang like I did on this album; it’s a different voice. Kenny Vaughan (long-time member of Marty Stuart’s supporting band, The Fabulous Superlatives) and I trade guitar solos. Charlie Sexton (guitarist for Bob Dylan’s backing band) came in and produced all the over dubs. There are eleven tracks on it that I am really proud of.”
During the pandemic, she released a wonderful single under Rosie Flores and the Talisman, “So Sad,” a tribute to the Everly Brothers. On the “B” side, she recorded one of her previously recorded songs, “I Got a Right to Cry.”
It must be in her blood to support other women in the business because she proudly shared that she was producing two female artists. Bonnie Montgomery, an amazing Austin singer/songwriter with award-winning beginnings in Arkansas, and Laura Cantrell “who has this lovely sweet voice,” shared Flores, “but we got her rockin!”
I asked Rosie, “Do you have another record in you?”
To my glee, she replied, “At least 5.”
To be continued….