Singer-songwriter Jim Keaveny could be a character out of a Mark Twain novel, born on the Missouri River before traveling through the country with a railroader’s restlessness. Ostensibly, he’s settled in the hard yet beautiful Texas desert where he lives off-the-grid in a house he built with his bare hands, surviving on rainwater he can’t waste, but his picaresque lifestyle still takes him around the world.

Keaveny’s traveling ways helped him develop a distinct Tex-Americana musical style that integrates influences from cosmic country to mariachi. Throughout the years, he has garnered praise from Austin to the Netherlands and was chosen to play the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival. His regular comparisons to Bob Dylan and John Prine make sense with his rich, down-to-earth vocals and smart lyrics.

Years after the release of his acclaimed LP, Put it Together (2017), Keaveny reveals the benefits of patience in his songwriting with ‘Sunrise‘ and ‘Golden Carmen‘, a digital double single, highlighting his more romantic side.

The genesis of ‘Sunrise’ began decades ago during childhood piano lessons, though his teacher didn’t much care for his early attempts at songwriting.

“She was a nice woman but very strict. She just wanted me to learn the classics,” Keaveny says. “So, I did. I won trophies and things like that, but when I showed her something I wrote, she’d kind of push it aside. She wasn’t interested. I composed a song on piano that became ‘Sunrise’ back in those days. The whole melody, the changes, everything except the lyrics. I’ve had it with me for many years, that particular song, and then I turned it into a completely different thing.”

Over the years, Keaveny built ‘Sunrise’ from a childhood piano melody to a straightforward folk tune, to a full-band love song that embodies the spirit of the Southwest. Keaveny was reeling from his divorce. It was one of the darkest times in his life. He was fighting off a heavy depression, when he met a woman who became a shining beacon of hope – to pull him from the darkness and into the light.

‘Golden Carmen’ came to fruition when Keaveny had a psychedelic encounter with a woman named Carmen. They only exchanged a few words, but in that moment, he experienced love at first sight. It’s a song that thrives on desert sensibility while introducing more lysergic musical elements to amplify Keaveny’s psychotropic experience.

“The idea of this golden woman on a beautiful summer day stuck with me,” Keaveny says. “Years later I met this woman in Colombia with something golden about her and suddenly this song came out of me. That’s the way I write songs. Sometimes it takes a long time.”

Keaveny can see Mexico from his Terlingua, Texas, solar-powered homestead and regularly travels to Colombia, but – while those areas might influence his work – it’s hard to predict what Keaveny might produce next.

As ‘Sunrise’ & ‘Golden Carmen’ are heart-on-his-sleeve love songs, Keaveny remains drawn to the craft he began pursuing long ago as he continues his artistic travels, finding inspiration in the people he meets along the way.

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