At Home With the Armadillo
by Gary P. Nunn (Greenleaf)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Feb. 2, 2018
When Gary P. Nunn wrote "London Homesick Blues" on his first trip to Europe with Michael Martin Murphey in 1973, the songwriter inadvertently endowed Austin with a theme song that catalyzed the city's music scene and introduced its aesthetic to the world as the opening music to more than four decades of Austin City Limits. Nunn's autobiography likewise proves indispensable for his clear-eyed recall riding shotgun to some of the era's defining moments. Told in a straightforward, casual style, the book's value lies less in anecdotes than as a catalog of people and songs. The first third builds slowly upon his upbringing in Oklahoma and West Texas before ensconcing into Austin's music scene, the turning point arriving just as Nunn is ready to pack in music until offered the bass spot in Murphey's band. The raucous years backing Jerry Jeff Walker makes for the meat of the memoir, but equally important was Nunn's role as locus for recruiting artists to Austin via his homestead at Public Domain Inc., a group of cabins on North Lamar near Threadgill's. Though Nunn's an avid photographer, At Home With the Armadillo sadly lacks illustration, leaving his full archives still to be mined.
At Home With the Armadilloby Gary P. Nunn
Greenleaf, 325 pp., $24.95