“Peace Town,” a 20-song double-disc set featuring material Austin singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave was working on when he died of cancer last year, is set for release on July 13 on Music Road Records.
Ashley Warren, who administers the Jimmy LaFave Intellectual Property Trust on behalf of LaFave’s teenage son Jackson, noted in a press release that the sessions resulting in “Peace Town” were not initially intended to be a farewell album. Rather, they were part of an ambitious 100-song recording plan LaFave had undertaken “for future albums and projects.” The 20 songs on “Peace Town” are what got done before the rare myxofibrosarcoma cancer took his life in May 2017.
Among the tracks are reinterpretations of two LaFave originals. It’s not clear yet whether it’s on the album, but one song he had revisited in the sessions was “Minstrel Boy Howling at the Moon,” from his 1988 cassette-only release “Highway Angels, Full Moon Rain,” released shortly after LaFave moved to Austin from his native Oklahoma. Three “Peace Town” tracks feature music LaFave wrote to accompany lyrics from the Woody Guthrie archive, and he also pays tribute to other Oklahoma songwriters with covers of songs by Leon Russell and J.J. Cale.
The set also includes three songs by Bob Dylan, whose work LaFave famously interpreted throughout his career, as well as nods to two other formative rock ’n’ roll influences, Pete Townshend and Chuck Berry. LaFave was working on a version of Austin songwriting great Butch Hancock’s epic tune “Already Gone,” though the press release announcing the album did not confirm whether that will be on “Peace Town.” The full track list has not yet been revealed.
An exhibit featuring LaFave’s photographs of small-town America taken on tour over the decades recently was shown at the Stephen L. Clark Gallery in Austin and will be on display at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa from April 24 to May 28. Some of the photos from that exhibit will be included in the “Peace Town” CD booklet.