Kristofferson / Chris Gantry

Featured photograph credit Skip Anderson

Hank told his fiddle player Jerry Rivers who told me in 1964 that Hank one night in a blind Bourbon drunk scribbled incoherent lines on a burger joint napkin about someone called Peso who had had an affair with his wife Audrey in a joint called the “Ma Epps”Motel. Perhaps he was having a flash back vision of his previous incarnation as a wagon train songwriter when he was known as Peso Paul. He told Jerry Rivers that he’d thought about using that name as his alter ego for what was later to become Luke the Drifter. Peso and Hank, two time traveling maniacs one and the same person busting heads and hearts out there in Hustle Bang Revolver Town eating lunch in the Hell Cadillac.

Chris Gantry

Join us to hear the rest of the story here

Back in the early sixties, the songwriters were a little bit freer than they are today. They didn’t co-write, and they wrote their songs and that era has kinda left town and it has become a little more homogenised. I wrote a book about those days (it’s over there on the table) and it’s called Gypsy Dreamers Dreamers in the Alley. Kris Kristofferson wrote the forward to it – I miss those days.

Chris Gantry

Pavillion Coffee House Nashville, Tn 2015

“I Hold My Phone” by Chris Gantry

From 2016 – Watch the fun side of Chris Gantry in this light-hearted video

Pilgrim 33

Every Kristofferson fan has heard his intro to Pilgrim 33.

I started writing this song about Chris Gantry, ended up …

Kris Kristofferson, Pilgrim 33 from the debut album Kristofferson

Kristofferson and Gantry 2019

We are fortunate indeed. 2019, Kris is on the road with the Strangers and Chris Gantry is telling us how it is – and was. I have only recently been exposed to his work, and I’m loving it – and learning so much about Kris’ life, experiences and therefore the influences behind much of his work. Anita Lay spoke about this book while we were discussing the new album, Nashlantis. We’ll get there, but first – the book I almost missed.

Gypsy Dreamers in the Alley

The 2013 release of Chris Gantry’s book looks like a vital read. I cannot believe that I never noticed it. How? I have no idea. I mean, there is Kris – on the book cover. I have read excerpts, but not the book. I plan to rectify that NOW.

Gypsy Dreamers … by Anita Lay

Just finished reading Gantry’s GYPSY DREAMERS IN THE ALLEY. What a hoot. The theme is actually quite serious about the importance of the Muse, which comes from the Creator, and the seriousness with which the singer-songwriters trying to make it in Nashville in the 1960s approached their writing. According to Gantry and his cohorts, you don’t write the songs; you are the conduit. God put you here for this purpose…to sing truth. The songs write you, the instruments play you…..

And as you can tell from the excerpts from Nashatlantis, he deplores the “business” that country music has become. But some of the stories of his adventures with Kris, Billy Swan, Shel Silverstein. Bob Beckham, Marijohn and Buck Wilkin, and so many others are hilarious. You should read this book, which is drawn from his Facebook posts, particularly the story about…

The blistering hot day he and Kris decided to use the rooftop pool of the Americana Hotel despite the fact that (1) they were not guests of the hotel and (2) they didn’t have any swimsuits. They carefully placed their clothing by the door to the fire stairs in case they needed to make a getaway, but when they got caught at it, they were so startled they fled without stopping to pick up the clothes.

Fortunately, the woman manager was so furious, she threw their clothes down the stairwell after them, so they didn’t have to ride off on their motor scooters without a stitch on.

Nashlantis, by Chris Gantry

Nashlantis is an interesting title for Chris Gantry’s latest album. Was Nashville, like Atlantis, mostly fiction? Was Music City Row as magical a place as the images the name evokes? I haven’t heard Chris Gantry’s new album yet because I am dealing with a few pressing issues right now – But I will as soon as the clouds clear.

The reviews from the media and Kris’ fans have been overwhelmingly positive. If you buy a copy, will you consider doing it through our site, and telling us your thoughts on the work once you have heard it?

Nashlantis is the cry and the moan of what [Nashville] once was,” Gantry tells the Scene from his home in Nashville. “When there was freedom, songwriters had power. That purity back then got upended, and it sank to the bottom of the sea of apathy, just like Atlantis did at one particular point in time.”

Edd Hurt

“The songs were written in pure honesty without thinking about having a hit, or having any kind of fame or glory. If anyone likes my stuff, they gotta come to me. I’m not going out crawling around looking for deals.” 

Chris Gantry

More

If you would like to know more about Chris’ book, read on. Anita shares her thoughts.

I want everyone to read this book. Read Chris’s April 18, 2012 post where he takes Kris to this hotel in Knoxville where the owner plays clawhammer banjo (Gantry is obsessed with old time traditional hillbilly instruments and pickin’ ) and Kris meets his first real hillbilly.

As Gantry describes it “here was refined, educated, eloquent Kris standing in front of a living primitive art named Berky Tooter using words like buck-willie and gee-gaws and a whole slew of country epithets neither one of us had ever heard.”

Apparently, Kris never forgot the experience of meeting Berky Tooter and would still go into hysterics at the memory years later. Be warned that the book is uneven because of its format. It is FB posts and comments and is sometimes repetitive, but worth the effort for the nuggets contained therein.

Anita Lay

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