For those of you that know me on a personal level—like outside of music or design or blogging, might be able to attest that the last year knowing and interacting with me has probably been a frustrating and near impossible thing to do. Mood swings, lost inspiration, designers’ block, sparse communication, perhaps even mild to flagrant disinterest in just about everything; including you. For the most part, I’m sorry.
If you grew up in south Texas, or live there now, you’ve probably gone or thought about going or know someone that’s gone to the Guadalupe River. I never thought much of it as a teen. I remember when I first moved to Texas from Basingstoke, England, that I was invited to a birthday party of a girl I met through some friends at my new junior high school. She lived in New Braunfels and had a party at her house, which opened up on to the river. I couldn’t, and still cannot, swim, so I didn’t have very much fun, but it was nice to be asked to tag a long. I never returned to the Guadalupe River, never had a reason to since I can’t swim, yet friends of mine went every summer. Some even worked at one of the country’s largest, if not the world’s largest, water park called Schlitterbahn. I didn’t drink back then either, but people and friends I knew would go out to the river and tube and drink beer and relax. If not the Guadalupe, the Comal River or Canyon Lake.
A year or so ago, Kay sent me some songs that Wayne and Erica had been working on. I was familiar with the both of them as they’d sang on several songs by Houston’s best kept secret The Foundation with Chris, Rob, & Kay. Wayne was also 1/4th of Houston R&B group Ideal.
Simply, I was in love with everything I heard. Perhaps a year before that, Phonte had sent me a small .ZIP file with about 7 songs by a new group called J*Davey. It took me a second to feel it honestly, as the underground then was trying to find it’s place in the post Soulquarian/post “neo soul”/post Dilla/post Slum Village with Dilla as a member world. We all loved that sound, but had to figure out how to update and keep it moving. The “electric surf music” as Brianna has described it, took a few days to sink in, but I finally got it. Prince, Dilla, & New Wave. Good mix.
But then I heard The Luv Bugz. I think any of the minor gripes I might have had with J*Davey, seemed improved upon with Wayne and Erica. The curious thing was, Wayne and Erica had never heard of J*Davey. Houston, Texas can be very insular, being between both coasts. Erica’s voice, as I’m sure you’ll agree, just glides and wisps around, and Wayne’s production and instrumentation were just a little less esoteric and to the point. Where some J*Davey tracks seemed to muddle around with no clear direction on a musical level, The Luv Bugz seemed to have a clear direction, and moved towards it. This is not to slight J*Davey in any fashion, I love Brianna’s writing and voice, Brook’s production is stellar, and they make very energetic music. No ifs, ands, or buts. I’m only sad I haven’t been able to hear the new tracks they’ve created since signing to a major and preparing their national debut. With The Luv Bugz It was kind of like, what I imagined J*Davey would grow into as they continued to record together, but then I heard the songs that didn’t sound like Prince Quincy Jonesed the situation.
This is one of them, and I fell in love. I’m sappy like that.
After my friend drowned in the Guadalupe River, I sort of adopted this song whenever I thought about her and how she passed on—the entire ordeal. The song is beautiful to me, and if you’ve ever experienced a lazy Texas afternoon in the water, this is exactly what it sounds/feels like. Yet, it’s also kind of sad. Perhaps, because the day is coming to an end, and the water gets cold and the sun goes down. The writer in me is always making connections in life, in my day to day, where they don’t necessarily fit or belong, but this works for me. I hope you like this song as much as I do, and that I didn’t put too much on it. I give you…
The Luv Bugz “Guadalupe”