Texas singer/songwriter David Ramirez is on the cusp of releasing his defiant new album, We’re Not Going Anywhere, a tribute to the crooked corners of America that don’t see themselves in the razor sharp, squeaky clean edge that’s often depicted as representing the whole entire country. Instead, Ramirez writes about broken-down, junkyard Americans, those who are struggling to feel and remember their own legacies, even while those histories are constantly devalued and kicked around.
But aside from the studio version, Ramirez also performed this heartbreaking song during the inaugural High Water Festival, Luck Reunion, a rogue cultural collective headquartered at Willie Nelson’s “Luck, TX” ranch, who took over an old chapel in South Carolina on the festival property for the latest installment of the Luck Sessions, which we’re premiering above.
Luck Sessions is a traveling series highlighting “musicians who are forging their own creative paths without compromise,” and that label certainly applies to Ramirez, who is on his second independent release partnered with Thirty Tigers. The Luck Sessions seek to “bring artists together in intimate settings, encouraging them to create and collaborate at will…channeling whatever mood, song, arrangement inspires them in that moment.”
Performing “Twins” on that church stage, Ramirez brings the full ghostly anger of the song to life, peeling back the layers to elevate this song from a story of specific familial loss into a larger examination of American devastation and loss. For the performance, he was joined by Ranky Tanky, a band who celebrate the South Carolina “Gullah” music tradition, which comes from the West African language and translates loosely into “a people blessed by God.” The Charleston-based quintet perform updated, soulful arrangements of classic and contemporary songs, and add a level of richness to Ramirez’s already gut-wrenching lullaby.
Check out the performance up top and look for Ramirez’s We’re Not Going Anywhere, out 9/8 via Thirty Tigers. Pre-order it here.