Meet the New Boss

From a family that has discovered or helped bring to light Leadbelly, Son House, Muddy Waters, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Kasey Chambers, along with the songs "Home on the Range," "The Midnight Special," "Goodnight Irene" and much of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, new Houston Press music editor John Nova Lomax was born in Austin and raised in Houston and Nashville.

At every stop, he was at the knees (and under the feet of) family friends Earle, Van Zandt and Guy Clark. At age five -- and Clark never lets him forget this -- Lomax was pulled from a burning bedroom by the songwriting ex-volunteer fireman. At eight, Lomax was taught to shoot a pistol by Earle, who was then at work on his song "The Devil's Right Hand." "Dirty Harry you ain't" was the troubadour's appraisal of Lomax's pistoleering.

Later Lomax was to serve as Earle's first and last 12-year-old roadie on a brief tour that consisted of gigs in Dallas, Shreveport, Louisiana, and Newport, Arkansas. At 14, Lomax returned to Houston, where he endured four years of learning to be "a man for others" at Strake Jesuit College Prep. At 21, Lomax abandoned his music business and journalism studies at Nashville's Belmont University for a three-month tour of Europe, which he parlayed into three years and a marriage to an English lass. Along the way he cut lawns in Lancashire (the land of his ancestors), processed melons in the Israeli desert and got positively Gauguined on absinthe in Prague.

Since arriving in Houston in 1997, Lomax has written freelance articles for the Houston Press, Fort Worth Weekly and Houston Blues Review. He also helped annotate and produce Demon Records' rerelease of Huey Meaux's Crazy Cajun catalog. John Nova Lomax loves Houston music in all its multiethnic multiplicity, especially when it revels in its provincialism.

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