People tell me it’s country music, and I ask, “which country?” – Terry Allen
Legendary artist Terry Allen is no stranger to the ramifications of border-crossing—it’s something he’s been doing both literally and figuratively, geographically and professionally, for his entire adult life. A native West Texan who now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico—he hails from Lubbock, also home to Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, and the Flatlanders—Allen occupies a unique position straddling the disparate worlds of country music and visual art. We’re not sure that you could say the same about anyone else, ever, and certainly not with the same level of aplomb, acclaim, and success—not to mention the same biting, self-effacing sense of humor about it all. That’s not to say that his work fits comfortably in either normative forum, because it doesn’t, really; it’s far too unwieldy and rangy and willfully unconcerned with fashion and specious cultural hierarchies. The Renaissance man is a quaintly old-fashioned notion in this era of hyper-specialization and technical expertise. But Allen works astonishingly hard, and the work is so impossible to ignore that he has steadily earned his deserved accolades.
Allen’s artwork resides in the collections of the Met, MoMA, the Hirshhorn, and Los Angeles’ MoCA and LACMA, among many other institutions, and has been exhibited internationally at Documenta and the São Paolo, Paris, Sydney, and Whitney Biennales. You can encounter his public commissions across the U.S. He is the recipient of Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships. In the realm of music, in addition to several projects with the aforementioned Byrne, Allen has likewise collaborated closely with Guy Clark, Lloyd Maines (pedal steel master, producer, and father of the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie), and the Flatlanders (Butch Hancock, Joe Ely, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore). He has released over a dozen albums since the mid-1970s, including the deeply influential Lubbock (on everything). His songs have been covered, recorded, and championed by the likes of Dave Alvin, Laurie Anderson, Bobby Bare, Ryan Bingham, David Byrne, Don Everly, Jason Isbell, Robert Earl Keen, Little Feat, Ricky Nelson, Peter Rowan, Doug Sahm, Sturgill Simpson, and Lucinda Williams.
All of Allen’s most ambitious works—among them RING (1976-80), Anterabbit/Bleeder (1982-90), YOUTH IN ASIA (1982-92), DUGOUT (2000-04), and Ghost Ship Rodez (2007-10)—incorporate music, visuals, and performance in various permutations, both independently and in integrated dialogue. JUAREZ provided the indelible blueprint for such gesamtkunstwerk strategies, appearing as drawings, constructions, songs, prints, installations, texts, a screenplay, a musical theater piece (co-written with David Byrne), a one-woman stage play, and an NPR radio play (both starring his wife, the actor and writer Jo Harvey Allen). As Allen reflects, “It became the underpinnings for the way I’ve worked since then—using language, using songs, using images, in whatever direction they had to go. That structure, I think, imprinted itself so heavily on me at the time.”
Widely celebrated as a masterpiece—arguably the greatest concept album of all time—his spare, haunting 1975 debut LP Juarez is a violent, fractured tale of the chthonic American Southwest and borderlands. Produced in collaboration with the artist and meticulously remastered from the original analog tapes, our 2016 reissue is the definitive edition of the art-country classic: the first reissue on vinyl; the first to feature the originally intended artwork (including the art prints that accompanied the first edition); and the first to contextualize the album within Allen’s fifty-year art practice. The deluxe LP package includes a tip-on gatefold jacket, printed inner sleeve, download code, and 24 pp. book with related artwork, lyrics, and essays by Dave Hickey, Dave Alvin, and PoB. The CD edition features replica jacket, inner sleeve, and a tipped-in 48 pp. book.
Allen’s deeply moving (and hilarious) critically acclaimed satirical second album Lubbock (on everything), a complex memory palace to West Texas hometown, is often cited as the urtext of alt-country, one of the most important and influential country records of all time. Produced in collaboration with the artist and meticulously remastered from the original analog tapes, this is likewise the definitive edition: the first to correct the tape speed inconsistencies evident on all prior versions; the first U.S. vinyl reissue; the first CD to restore the full track listing; and the first to contextualize the record within Allen’s career. The deluxe 2×LP package includes a tip-on gatefold jacket with lyrics, printed inner sleeves, download code, and 28 pp. book with related artwork and photos, an oral history by Allen, and essays by David Byrne, Lloyd Maines, and PoB. The 2×CD edition features replica jacket, sleeves, and tipped-in 52 pp. book.