Lonesome Onry and Mean

Tonight: Songwriting Legend Mark Germino at Anderson Fair

Veteran Nashville songwriter Mark Germino will be making a rare Houston appearance tonight at Anderson Fair. The last time Germino played there, no less a fan than Steve Fromholz drove over from Austin to catch the show.

A songwriter's songwriter, Germino is one of the most revered writers in the Nashville underground. Like anyone who pitches songs in Hillbilly Hollywood, Germino's got war stories, like the day he thought he was finally going to get Vern Gosdin to cut one of his songs.

For some reason, the Nashville A-Team of great studio pickers just couldn't please Gosdin that day. After a full day in the studio, Gosdin was so frustrated and disappointed with the track that he took the tape off the recorder, walked out into the hall, bowled the tape down the hallway in disgust, ruining the tape. Gosdin never revisited the song and Germino never got his Vern Gosdin cut.

He's also got a great story about having a hangover from hell in Scotland and suddenly finding himself sitting across the breakfast table from June and Johnny Cash. Cash eventually cut Germino's song "God Ain't No Stained Glass Window."

But maybe the best Germino story is one he tells of New Year's Eve 1986, wherein he is in London sitting on a speaker at the side of the stage he is sharing with Elvis Costello while watching the Pogues. Yeah, Germino's been around and run in fast company.

He's also known for mentoring and working with promising young writers, and one of them, Dustin Welch, opens the show and then accompanies Germino. Germino co-wrote three tracks on Welch's new album, Whisky Priest, including the title track.

This should be a rare show for fans of great stories and even greater songwriting.

8 p.m. tonight at Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant, 832-212-4057 or www.andersonfair.com.

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William Michael Smith