Bob Livingston
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Bob Livingston

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter

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"Bob Livingston, Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull (Vireo"

It is great to hear an album from an Austin musician that doesn't revolve around frat boy patroninzation. No beer references, no hollerin' Texas, no not even the roadtrip offering. What you will find is an adult album aimed at the Country crowd from a longtime Texas music hero. Bob Livingston has ties to Jerry Jeff's Lost Gonzo Band, Gonzo Compadres, etc., what you'll find is true Texas music! This is the kind of album that will take years to build up it's "resume" as on of Texas' best. You won't find this one on the shelves at Wal-Mart, but this is one of the diamonds in the rough that needs an ear! It is released on Austin's Vireo Records.....the same label where I first discovered Charlie & Bruce Robison 10 years back. Bob Livingston is no newcomer, however his time has arrived to take center stage!

-- Bruce Kidder, Program Director
- Dallas Morning News


"Bob Livingston, Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull (Vireo"

It is great to hear an album from an Austin musician that doesn't revolve around frat boy patroninzation. No beer references, no hollerin' Texas, no not even the roadtrip offering. What you will find is an adult album aimed at the Country crowd from a longtime Texas music hero. Bob Livingston has ties to Jerry Jeff's Lost Gonzo Band, Gonzo Compadres, etc., what you'll find is true Texas music! This is the kind of album that will take years to build up it's "resume" as on of Texas' best. You won't find this one on the shelves at Wal-Mart, but this is one of the diamonds in the rough that needs an ear! It is released on Austin's Vireo Records.....the same label where I first discovered Charlie & Bruce Robison 10 years back. Bob Livingston is no newcomer, however his time has arrived to take center stage!

-- Bruce Kidder, Program Director
- Dallas Morning News


"The 10 best country/Americana CDs"

By John T. Davis
Austin American-Statesman
January 1, 2004

1. Rodney Crowell, 'Fate's Right Hand' (Epic/DMZ)

2. Lucinda Williams, 'World Without Tears' (Lost Highway)

3. Johnny Cash, 'Unearthed' (American/Lost Highways)

4. June Carter Cash, 'Wildwood Flower' (Dualtone)

5. Tom Russell, 'Modern Art' (Hightone)

6. Bob Livingston, 'Mahatma Gandhi and Sitting Bull' (Vireo): The delightful conceit of the title winds through this collection of 21st century cowboys and Indians (the ones that live in India). Travel far enough, and the West becomes the East, and here's where the twain in fact meet. "Original Spirit," by the way, may be the year's loveliest song.

7. Ray Wylie Hubbard, 'Growl' (Philo)

8. Lyle Lovett, 'My Baby Don't Tolerate' (Lost Highway)

9. Emmylou Harris, 'Stumble Into Grace' (Nonesuch)

10. Patricia Vonne, 'Patricia Vonne' (Bandolera)
- Austin American-Statesman


"The 10 best country/Americana CDs"

By John T. Davis
Austin American-Statesman
January 1, 2004

1. Rodney Crowell, 'Fate's Right Hand' (Epic/DMZ)

2. Lucinda Williams, 'World Without Tears' (Lost Highway)

3. Johnny Cash, 'Unearthed' (American/Lost Highways)

4. June Carter Cash, 'Wildwood Flower' (Dualtone)

5. Tom Russell, 'Modern Art' (Hightone)

6. Bob Livingston, 'Mahatma Gandhi and Sitting Bull' (Vireo): The delightful conceit of the title winds through this collection of 21st century cowboys and Indians (the ones that live in India). Travel far enough, and the West becomes the East, and here's where the twain in fact meet. "Original Spirit," by the way, may be the year's loveliest song.

7. Ray Wylie Hubbard, 'Growl' (Philo)

8. Lyle Lovett, 'My Baby Don't Tolerate' (Lost Highway)

9. Emmylou Harris, 'Stumble Into Grace' (Nonesuch)

10. Patricia Vonne, 'Patricia Vonne' (Bandolera)
- Austin American-Statesman


"BIG IN YEMEN"

BIG IN YEMEN
Bob and Tucker Livingston Conquer the Middle East through songs, not arms

BY ANDY LANGER

Bob Livingston knows all about tough crowds. Austin's veteran singer-songwriter has spent the better part of his adult life traveling off the beaten path with Michael Martin Murphy, Jerry Jeff Walker, and his own Lost Gonzo Band. And yet, there's very little that can prepare you for Yemen. Not Yemen, Texas -- the Republic of Yemen. As in the Middle East.

Three years ago, the U.S. State Department sent Livingston and his son Tucker to Yemen to entertain the country's mostly poor, mostly Muslim population, which isn't known for its love of the nightlife, let alone live music. Peaking from behind the theatre curtain, the Livingstons, dressed in cowboy hats, boots, and vests, found the audience separated by sex, the women with their faces covered and the men sitting uniformly with crossed arms.

Undeterred, Bob Livingston opened with the same spiel he'd used in similar trips to India, Nepal, Kuwait, and Bangladesh: "Hi. We're from America -- Texas. We're going to sing some cowboy songs about beautiful women and ugly men. Do any of you folks know how to yodel?"

Silence…

"In the beginning, they were completely cold," laughs Tucker Livingston, 28. "In the end, they weren't just yodeling. They were clapping and dancing in the aisles. It goes to show how music breaks down the barriers of geography and politics. And just as importantly, if you walk in with open arms and a smile, you'll get open arms and a smile right back."

Along with Yemen, the Livingstons' 2000 tour found them sharing smiles with audiences in India, Pakistan, and Syria, countries that a few minutes with CNN tell us we're now more likely to trade artillery fire than songs. And why was a father-son team from Austin touring some of the world's hottest hotspots? The answer dates back to 1996 in India, where Livingston and his family once lived.

While visiting his wife and two sons at an ashram, Bob Livingston met Fullbright Scholar Frank Bloch, on the road for the U.S. Information Service, a State Department branch charged with disseminating information about America and American interests abroad.

"He told me if you could convince the government that you're an expert in anything from hydroponics to country music, they'd put you on the road," recalls Livingston.

After an audition in Madras, Livingston and Lost Gonzo Band compatriot John Inmon were invited back to India to present "Cowboys & Indians," a program combining cowboy folklore, country songs, and audience interaction.

"We'd say, 'We're here to play country music. What country? That's the question,'" says Livingston, who embarked on USIS tours annually between 1986 and 1991, returning again in 1998 and 2000. "One guy in India introduced me by saying, 'Mr. Bob is here to play the country music of America and learn the country music of India.' They took 'country music' to mean 'your country's folk music’ which was a wonderful interpretation."

Almost immediately, Livingston connected with audiences through prairie songs and prison blues, from John Denver's "Country Roads" to Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" (modified for Indian audiences to "From the sunny Bombay to the plains of the Punjab to the Himalayan Mountains to the Arabian Sea"). By the time Tucker Livingston joined his father for the final pair of treks, one of the show's highlights had become a jam with their host country's native musicians on Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away."

"We found that Bo Diddley/Buddy Holly beat is almost a primal instinct in every culture we visited," says the elder Livingston, who has spent the last 10 years putting on his Texas Commission on the Arts- and Austin Arts Commission-sponsored "Cowboys & Indians" show across the Lone Star State. "I'd figure out what key they were comfortable with and tune my guitar to them."

Although the show's early-Nineties incarnation briefly featured a vignette about George Bush and Saddam Hussein yodeling for world peace ("It's impossible to yodel and invade a country at the same time ..."), the Livingstons were typically careful to draw a sharp line between music and politics. Nevertheless, even as the family patriarch was touring the Middle East just before the original Gulf War, the Livingstons' trip to Yemen came at a time when American kidnappings were commonplace. Not that the pair ever felt they were in any danger or even experienced anti-American sentiment.

"I think even when the conversations turned political, they'd realize we don't represent our country's leaders or their actions," says Tucker Livingston, who spent much of his childhood with his mother in India while his father lived in Austin and toured with Walker and the Lost Gonzo Band. "And yet, having been there and talking to their people, it's even harder t - Austin Chronicle


"BIG IN YEMEN"

BIG IN YEMEN
Bob and Tucker Livingston Conquer the Middle East through songs, not arms

BY ANDY LANGER

Bob Livingston knows all about tough crowds. Austin's veteran singer-songwriter has spent the better part of his adult life traveling off the beaten path with Michael Martin Murphy, Jerry Jeff Walker, and his own Lost Gonzo Band. And yet, there's very little that can prepare you for Yemen. Not Yemen, Texas -- the Republic of Yemen. As in the Middle East.

Three years ago, the U.S. State Department sent Livingston and his son Tucker to Yemen to entertain the country's mostly poor, mostly Muslim population, which isn't known for its love of the nightlife, let alone live music. Peaking from behind the theatre curtain, the Livingstons, dressed in cowboy hats, boots, and vests, found the audience separated by sex, the women with their faces covered and the men sitting uniformly with crossed arms.

Undeterred, Bob Livingston opened with the same spiel he'd used in similar trips to India, Nepal, Kuwait, and Bangladesh: "Hi. We're from America -- Texas. We're going to sing some cowboy songs about beautiful women and ugly men. Do any of you folks know how to yodel?"

Silence…

"In the beginning, they were completely cold," laughs Tucker Livingston, 28. "In the end, they weren't just yodeling. They were clapping and dancing in the aisles. It goes to show how music breaks down the barriers of geography and politics. And just as importantly, if you walk in with open arms and a smile, you'll get open arms and a smile right back."

Along with Yemen, the Livingstons' 2000 tour found them sharing smiles with audiences in India, Pakistan, and Syria, countries that a few minutes with CNN tell us we're now more likely to trade artillery fire than songs. And why was a father-son team from Austin touring some of the world's hottest hotspots? The answer dates back to 1996 in India, where Livingston and his family once lived.

While visiting his wife and two sons at an ashram, Bob Livingston met Fullbright Scholar Frank Bloch, on the road for the U.S. Information Service, a State Department branch charged with disseminating information about America and American interests abroad.

"He told me if you could convince the government that you're an expert in anything from hydroponics to country music, they'd put you on the road," recalls Livingston.

After an audition in Madras, Livingston and Lost Gonzo Band compatriot John Inmon were invited back to India to present "Cowboys & Indians," a program combining cowboy folklore, country songs, and audience interaction.

"We'd say, 'We're here to play country music. What country? That's the question,'" says Livingston, who embarked on USIS tours annually between 1986 and 1991, returning again in 1998 and 2000. "One guy in India introduced me by saying, 'Mr. Bob is here to play the country music of America and learn the country music of India.' They took 'country music' to mean 'your country's folk music’ which was a wonderful interpretation."

Almost immediately, Livingston connected with audiences through prairie songs and prison blues, from John Denver's "Country Roads" to Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" (modified for Indian audiences to "From the sunny Bombay to the plains of the Punjab to the Himalayan Mountains to the Arabian Sea"). By the time Tucker Livingston joined his father for the final pair of treks, one of the show's highlights had become a jam with their host country's native musicians on Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away."

"We found that Bo Diddley/Buddy Holly beat is almost a primal instinct in every culture we visited," says the elder Livingston, who has spent the last 10 years putting on his Texas Commission on the Arts- and Austin Arts Commission-sponsored "Cowboys & Indians" show across the Lone Star State. "I'd figure out what key they were comfortable with and tune my guitar to them."

Although the show's early-Nineties incarnation briefly featured a vignette about George Bush and Saddam Hussein yodeling for world peace ("It's impossible to yodel and invade a country at the same time ..."), the Livingstons were typically careful to draw a sharp line between music and politics. Nevertheless, even as the family patriarch was touring the Middle East just before the original Gulf War, the Livingstons' trip to Yemen came at a time when American kidnappings were commonplace. Not that the pair ever felt they were in any danger or even experienced anti-American sentiment.

"I think even when the conversations turned political, they'd realize we don't represent our country's leaders or their actions," says Tucker Livingston, who spent much of his childhood with his mother in India while his father lived in Austin and toured with Walker and the Lost Gonzo Band. "And yet, having been there and talking to their people, it's even harder t - Austin Chronicle


"Record Review"

Record Review

By Margaret Moser


Bob Livingston
Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull (Vireo)

In the course of more than 30 years, Lost Gonzo Band founder/cosmic cowboy icon Bob Livingston has gone from playing country & western music to country & eastern music. Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull is just as the title suggests: the crossroads where sitar meets guitar. It's not the most unfamiliar of sounds; the brief "Prelude" and 30-second "A Slight Breath" recall Loreena McKennitt's exotic flavoring, but the resemblance ends there. Livingston's always been a songwriter of the first order, and the crafting of the album title cut, "Original Spirit," and "The Prophet Said" bears that out. His versatility with ballads
("Love Cannot Be Broken," "Raining for So Long"), swing ("Take Advantage of Your Chances"), reggae ("Wilderness Song"), and rock ("When the Beat Was Young") is disarming. And while "Cowboys & Indians Return" labors, "On a Dream With You" pairs Livingston's gentle tenor with the silky-voiced Eliza Gilkyson for a languorous duet that's already receiving well-deserved airplay. If the guitars-and-sitars concept sounds gimmicky, it's not. Livingston regularly performs with musicians from Texas and India in an act that celebrates the similarities and differences between Eastern and Western music and culture. It's not instant karma, but he's got a master's way with words and music. Bob Livingston, still cosmic after all these years.

***







- Austin Chronicle


"Record Review"

Record Review

By Margaret Moser


Bob Livingston
Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull (Vireo)

In the course of more than 30 years, Lost Gonzo Band founder/cosmic cowboy icon Bob Livingston has gone from playing country & western music to country & eastern music. Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull is just as the title suggests: the crossroads where sitar meets guitar. It's not the most unfamiliar of sounds; the brief "Prelude" and 30-second "A Slight Breath" recall Loreena McKennitt's exotic flavoring, but the resemblance ends there. Livingston's always been a songwriter of the first order, and the crafting of the album title cut, "Original Spirit," and "The Prophet Said" bears that out. His versatility with ballads
("Love Cannot Be Broken," "Raining for So Long"), swing ("Take Advantage of Your Chances"), reggae ("Wilderness Song"), and rock ("When the Beat Was Young") is disarming. And while "Cowboys & Indians Return" labors, "On a Dream With You" pairs Livingston's gentle tenor with the silky-voiced Eliza Gilkyson for a languorous duet that's already receiving well-deserved airplay. If the guitars-and-sitars concept sounds gimmicky, it's not. Livingston regularly performs with musicians from Texas and India in an act that celebrates the similarities and differences between Eastern and Western music and culture. It's not instant karma, but he's got a master's way with words and music. Bob Livingston, still cosmic after all these years.

***







- Austin Chronicle


Discography

Bob Livingston: A Partial Discography...

Bob Livingston Cds:
Waking Up (Wilderness) 1981;
Signs Of Life (Wilderness) 1988;
Open The Window (Gentle Wind) 1996;
Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull (Vireo) 2004;
Everything Is All Right (TMI) 2004;
Original Spirit (Vireo) 2008;

With The Lost Gonzo Band:
The Lost Gonzo Band (MCA) 1972;
Thrills (MCA) 1976;
Signs Of Life (Capitol) 1978;
Rendezvous (Vireo) 1991;
Hands Of Time (Vireo) 1995;
Dead Armadillos (Demon/Edsel) 1998;

With Jerry Jeff Walker:
Jerry Jeff Walker (MCA) 1972;
Viva Terlingua! (MCA) 1973;
Walker’s Collectibles (MCA) 1974;
Ridin’ High (MCA) 1975;
It’s A Good Night For Singin’ (MCA) 1976;
A Man Must Carry On (MCA) 1977;
Great Gonzos (MCA) 1991;
Gypsey Songman (Tried ‘n True) 1986;
Navaho Rug (Rycodisk) 1991;
Hill Country Rain (Rycodisk) 1992;
Viva Lukenbach (Rycodisk) 1993;
Christmas Gonzo Style (Rycodisk) 1994;
Night After Night (Tried ‘n True) 1995;
Scamp (Tried ‘n True) 1996;
Cowboy Boots and Bathing Suits (Tried ‘n True) 1997;
Lone Wolf: The Best of Jerry Jeff Walker (1998);
Gypsy Songman (Tried ‘n True) 1999;
Gonzo Stew (Tried ‘n True) 2001;
Jerry Jeff Walker Too Old To Change (2003);

With Michael Martin Murphey:
Geronimo’s Cadillac (A&M) 1972;
Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir (A&M) 1973.

Photos

Bio

Singer-songwriter BOB LIVINGSTON has never been a traditional Texas country musician living the honky-tonk life, even though he's spent more than his share of time on the roadhouse circuit with some of the most colorful musicians in Texas. As a member of Austin's legendary Lost Gonzo Band, performing and recording with such musical visionaries as Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Martin Murphey and Ray Wylie Hubbard, Livingston played an integral role in creating the music that first earned Austin the international designation of 'Live Music Capital of the World'. Achieving recognition in their own right, the Gonzos' self-titled debut record was named by 'Rolling Stone', "one of the best albums ever to come out of Austin".

Livingston has seen a lot of the world since growing up in musically fertile West Texas. Hailing originally from Lubbock, his interests were more 'Cosmic' than 'Cowboy' and have prompted him to delve into the music and mysteries of many cultures. Traveling since the 80's as a Music Ambassador for the US State Department, Livingston has taken Texas music as far afield as India, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, demonstrating again and again the unique power that music has to build bridges between peoples of the world. As Livingston says, 'When all else fails, music prevails'. This philosophy earned him the honor of being appointed 窶連ustin's International Music Ambassador' by the City Council in November 2009.

This world traveled view was reflected in his album, 'Mahatma Gandhi and Sitting Bull', released in 2004 and named by the Austin American-Statesman as one of the year's Top Ten CDs. Currently on the road in support of a new compilation CD called, 'Original Spirit', Livingston, in between gigs, is writing new material and recording a new CD with a harder edge that, in spirit, returns home to his Texas roots: a little less cosmic and a little more cowboy. Working with producer, Lloyd Maines, Livingston only half jokingly calls this new project, 'The Flesh and Blood Sessions'.

In a live performance with Bob Livingston, one finds a veteran singer-songwriter and a master storyteller who captures his audience from the first notes played. Livingston extends an irresistible invitation to travel down the musical highways and rutted back country roads where fate has taken him over the years. Come along on this adventure, an unforgettable evening of Texas music and tales of how it came to be, lies just down the road...

For more information about Bob Livingston, his music and his high adventures, visit www.BobLivingston.org and www.Facebook.com/boblivingston. (Be A Friend!)

Band Members