Lauren (words): I wrote this lyric the first summer we lived in Tennessee, after we have been once through all the seasons. We had moved from Colorado at the end of the previous May with our then 2-year-old, and wild blackberries, which didn’t grow in the part of Colorado where we had lived, were a revelation to us. (So were chiggers, but that’s another story entirely!) Every bit of this song is true: Blackberry picking with our kid and our old black dog became a part of our summers, and blackberry jam became a part of our winters.
Andy (music): When Lauren first showed me this lyric, she asked if I could work in a break using a bit of the old fiddle tune, Blackberry Blossom when I scored it. I worked with it a bit and realized that the structure of her lyric fit Blackberry Blossom perfectly – it just needed a “b part.” Lauren re-worked one of her verses into a b part/chorus and I based the entire melody on Blackberry Blossom – including working in the break that Lauren has asked for.
Back in 1978, I had the honor to open a show for Merle Haggard and his band. It was one of the highlights of my professional life, and I got to share it with my good friend and former band mate, Tabby Crabb. Here’s a newspaper ad for that show.
We were huge fans of Merle’s music, and he and his band were in top form that night. And, they made us feel welcome – which made the day even more memorable. That experience was part of the inspiration for my song, Haggard and the Queen, that I wrote years later.
Andy May-Texas Tabby Crabb Band: Andy, “Chopper” Chodorow, Bill Holloway, and Tabby. 1977.
By the time we started The Andy May – Texas Tabby Crabb Band in 1977, Tabby and I both had years of experience in different commercial music scenes. We knew enough to realize the hard work and luck that it would take to make a living wage from a band. And it did.
I had heard through the music grapevine that a fellow had showed up in the Amherst area straight from being a member of a popular country rock band in Texas called “Medicine Wheel.” Folks said he could play pedal steel guitar, banjo, guitar and fiddle and was looking for work.