“The sweetness her voice may have surrendered to the years has been replaced with a seasoned soulfulness only time can provide,” wrote KUTX deejay Jay Trachtenberg about Rosie Flores’ 2019 blues covers collection, Simple Case of the Blues. You can hear both sweetness and soulfulness in the Texan’s prose too, which bodes well for her autobiography.
Austin Chronicle: Where are you sheltering and under what circumstances? Who else is there and how’s that going?
Rosie Flores: Sheltering is going well. Getting a lot of things accomplished, and catching up once and for all!
AC: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?
RF: COVID shut all of my bookings down. I watched them disappear one by one. It was all understandable, but quite scary knowing I wasn't going to have money coming in to pay the bills or eat.
Close friends helped out in the early days, then I got the idea to try a livestream on Facebook and see if friends and fans were willing to tip a bit – like they do at live shows – and it’s working out nicely. I’m in my 10th week now.
AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person?
RF: I think live music can be very healing and joyous. It is for me. The effects of a great live show can stay with me for at least a week. Or even if it’s just an ok band, I've had a great night out and the next day can give me a brighter outlook.
Now, as a performer, it's a whole different feeling, more of gratitude and accomplishment. I love the feeling of making an audience happy and taking them to that place we all get to with live music, the escape from reality. So yeah, during this sheltering in place, I’m really missing the live music and being out socializing with friends.
AC: Everyone’s had to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?
RF: My work is a combination of trying to complete tasks around my busy little quarantine life. Learning the piano means practicing my lessons, working up and memorizing new tunes for my weekly Wednesday livestream, and I’m back to writing my book as well as organizing my archives.
AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?
RF: At some point in the day, I get the news, which is upsetting. I can’t believe what is going on in the world. Hard to believe how bad things are and so I try to meditate about it. That’s when I feel like being silent ’til I can absorb it all.
I do listen to music when I wake up, do a little happy dance and start the day feeling positive. I listen to music when I cook, have dinner, or shower, and blast it in the car if I drive somewhere. I’ve gotten hooked on the Beatles channel on Sirius radio, and I go between their music and Outlaw Country, which will play my tunes now and then, so that’s a charge.
And, oh yeah, Tom Petty radio, too.
Upbeat tunes and melodic, that’s my jam – songs for the happy dance to calibrate my soul. But I do have to believe that there will be change for better in the world and that the new music being written during this time will be the phrases and words that will hopefully help us all to move forward toward love and peace, and a healthy world again.
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