By Bliss Bowen

Contributing editor of the weekly Pasadena

SGoodnight, Texas, a Francisco-based American quintet, was scheduled to open this weekend for Portland folk-rockers Fruition at the Lodge Room in Highland Park, a double-ended show that promised lively music and camaraderie.

But on January 6, fans were touched by the reality of the COVID-19 era when Fruition announced on social media that, during a short series of concert dates, he learned the hard way that “even the precautions and thoughtful guidelines… just weren’t working. We have a few positive points confirmed in the tour at this time. We won’t be able to get out of the isolation in time to put on our normal shows for you. Goodnight, Texas also said it was “in everyone’s best interests to postpone” his tour dates, a wise but obviously disappointing move.

“Yes, we’re disappointed as well, but (it’s) definitely for the best,” Goodnight, Texas co-singer Avi Vinocur confirmed in a follow-up exchange. “We will be back as soon as possible.”

As the latest wave of COVID-19 continues and fans await news of postponed show dates, they can take comfort in Goodnight, Texas’ fourth album, “How Long Will It Take Them To Die” , expected Friday January 21 from Burning Files from the house.

Two of his strongest tracks, “Borrowed Time” and the hopeful “Dead Middle”, have already been released. To a playful country tune with a dashing backbeat, “Borrowed Time” imagines the errands of the corner store and the awkwardness of a fish out of the water of a visiting galactic traveler when “the earth was burning, smoke all in. the sky:”

“I arrived on Earth a few hours ago

Man, I don’t know what they did with this place

Yeah, they have gravity but I like it better in space “

The cathartic “Dead Middle”, whose first mandolin stroke evokes the searing “Chalk” of Buddy & Julie Miller, is awash in moving exhilaration, Adam Nash’s pedal steel and turns of phrase (” If I’m gonna catch hell for saying what I’m thinking / Then I might as well make it count ”) likely to invite singalongs to future gigs.

“Well the battle is almost over

And there is no sign of a truce

We can mess around in an old stuck engine

Maybe let go of something

But even then how can we fix it

It’s a complex machine

We can leave the car and give up and walk

Maybe one day meet again “

Led by North Carolina multi-instrumentalist Patrick Dyer Wolf
(patrickdyerwolf.bandcamp.com) and prolific singer-songwriter and producer Vinocur (avivinocurmusic.com), a former Stone Foxes guitarist / mandolinist, occasional Metallica collaborator and frequent visitor to Pasadena, Goodnight, Texas’ self-proclaimed “garage roots Appalachian collaboration ”is steeped in the rustic folk and blues traditions of the early 20th century. Their instrumentation – guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin on an electric rhythm section – easily suggests threads connecting past and present eras of poverty, d inequality and struggle.

The tense rhythm of the slow-burning rocker “Hypothermic” counterbalances the irreverent old-fashioned stomper “Gotta Get Goin ‘” and its references to Harpers Ferry, the Wild West and the Civil War infantry. Loping to a rubbery groove and harmonies, “Elegy” offers collegiate advice (“Don’t let ’em get you”), while the ballad “Jane Come Down From Your Room” frames the humiliated confession of a father to his daughter (“It’s nothing you did that drove me crazy / It’s the fact that I was a terrible father”) and the “I’d rather not” express a feeling of weariness familiar to many (“I got a hand that’s running out of cards / But that’s what I got / I could try to cope with all the pain / But I’d rather not do it”).

Where the band’s 2020 release precisely titled “Live in Seattle, Just Before the Global Pandemic” captured its dynamic on stage and audience response, songs and focused arrangements of “How Long Will It Take Them to Die” hit more softly in the solar plexus with the recognition of the shared experience. It may lack the immediacy of live performance, but it fuels a lingering need.

For more information on “How long will it take them to die” and Goodnight, Texas, visit hiwearegoodnighttexashowareyou.com and goodnighttexas.bandcamp.com.