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Friday, April 22, 2011

Blaze of Glory: Celebrating the life (and death) of the Duct Tape Messiah

Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah followed by a set of Foley songs by Gurf Morlix. $15 adv. 8 p.m. Fri., April 22. The Atlanta Room at Smith’s Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com.

Repeats Sat., April 23. With readings from Living In the Woods In a Tree by Sybil Rosen. $15. 7 p.m. Lowell Opry House, 821 Liberty Church Road. 770-854-8435. www.lowellopryhouse.com.

Hardly a household name, Blaze Foley could easily be considered just another obscure Texas singer-songwriter who never made it big and ultimately faded away. Known as Michael Fuller in his youth, Depty Dawg in the mid-’70s during his Georgia years, and Blaze Foley in Texas, his tale is somewhat unique. Twenty-two years after his tragic murder in Austin, he is being discovered by a new audience. This resurgence is led by several individuals, some who knew, loved, and worked with Foley, and one who never knew him.

Foley’s music is being revisited by fellow Austinite Gurf Morlix, who befriended him in the late-’70s, and recently released a tribute album of Foley songs. “I loved his songs, his persona, he was not like anyone I had ever seen. The funniest person I’ve ever known.” In spite of Foley’s debilitating battles with drugs and alcohol, his “was a life well lived," Morlix adds, "with an amazing sense of justice, and a strong code of honor.” Sadly it was that sense of justice that resulted in Foley's untimely death when he was shot by the son of an elderly man he was defending. Sounds like a movie, right?

Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah is a documentary by Kevin Triplett. While Triplett never actually met Foley, his exposure to the music and the legend inspired him to make the film. Twelve years later, “Duct Tape Messiah” is finally being screened all over the world.

One of the film’s main contributors is the woman who could be considered Foley’s muse. In Living In The Woods In a Tree, a deeply emotional memoir of sharing life and love with “Depty” in Whitesburg, Ga., author/playwright Sybil Rosen paints a painfully honest yet touching portrait of a troubled but talented human being. “He was so emotional, he had his own demons, but that was all part of the mix,” she recalls. Reflecting on her reconnection after so many years, Rosen says, “I feel an enormous debt of gratitude, particularly to Kevin. He’s the one who brought me back into this. I had repressed Depty’s memory, but traveling back to Georgia, Texas, and writing the book brought it out of me, and it is a good reattachment.”

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