The Bachelors have just returned from a fruitful fieldwork visit to Nashville, Music City, USA, where we had the honor and privilege of spending several days with our friend Chance Martin (aka Alamo Jones, General Chance, the Stoned Ranger, and the Voice in Black), the mastermind, impresario, and visionary songwriter, bandleader, and singer behind the brilliant, unheralded countrydelic 1981 LP In Search, credited simply to Chance and released on his own Macho imprint. Lighting director, stage manager, and confidant to Johnny Cash–he wrote several songs on one of Cash’s hand-me-down Martins–and current DJ partner to legendary producer and songwriter Cowboy Jack Clement–Chance’s story is a remarkable tale of undaunted artistic ambition, willful worldbuilding and mythmaking, and disciplined directorship of a ragtag band of brothers in the pursuit of an unprecedented sound.
As he describes it, by the time he was in his early thirties, after having worked years for Cash and as a touring union stagehand, lighting director, and sound engineer (he did remote sound for Altman’s Nashville, among other projects), Chance had already met, partied with, and toured with some of the greatest rock and country artists of the twentieth century. He wanted to turn off and shut out the background buzz of Music City influence and escape into deepest recesses of his own brain. So he hunkered down with his band in the infamous Dead End, the exclusive clubhouse “bonus room” of his parent’s South Nashville home, where he maintained a rigid writing, rehearsal, and recording regimen for five years, meticulously crafting his compositions, documenting the entire process, and refusing to perform live.
The result was a far-out and utterly inimitable progressive country/art-rock epic song-cycle that is literally unlike anything we’ve ever heard before (the closest, albeit lacking, sonic reference may be an imaginary concept-album collaboration of Waylon Jennings and Funkadelic.) It’s the private, inspired masterpiece of a true Cosmic Cowboy on the wild fringes of Nashvegas, coming your way in Spring 2013 from Paradise of Bachelors. Here’s a teaser in the form of some photos taken and collected from Chance’s extensive archive. HIGH TEST/DEAD READY. Now destroy the evidence: