Saturday May 27
I'm honored to be closing the main stage tonight at the 46th annual Kerrville Folk Festival. When I first came here in 2002, I had one album and didn't even think of myself as a songwriter. I didn't know there was a thing called "singer/songwriter."
Tonight I've got one of the biggest gigs in songwriterdom. However, what I'm most excited about is bringing my friend Corin Raymond on stage. By the time he's been on stage a few minutes Corin Raymond will be an inextricable part of Kerrville history.
Corin tried to come here in 2009. He was refused at the border. He lost the price of his plane ticket and any gigs he could have been doing during that time he had reserved to be at the festival- easily thousand of dollars. Why? The festival had given Corin a volunteer position in order to save him the price of admission. Someone knew he belonged here in this dusty Texas festival that is half refugee camp and half Holy City.
What Corin discovered is that foreigners need a work visa to volunteer in the US. We're not about to let some outsider take an unpaid position away from a hard-working American who deserves to be unpaid, and unpaid well, for their labor.
The fact that Corin Raymond is walking straight into one of the biggest songwriter gigs in the US without ever being in the songwriting contest or "working his way up" is some small justice for that injustice. I also feel like we've smuggled great art into the country against the paranoid wishes of an artless bureaucracy that doesn't know the difference between a songwriter and a fighter pilot.
Rest assured my fellow Americans, the Department of Homeland Security will do anything to protect you from all the strange beauty that is trying to invade the USA and take all the unpaid jobs. But not tonight. Tonight, Corin is getting paid. Tonight, the enemy of the state is in the Lone Star State where, at least, they know a songwriter when they hear one. And they're going to hear one tonight. Corin Raymond is one of the best ever to grace this stage and that is saying a lot.
If you're here, I suggest you be in a seat at 11pm or you're going to hear about it later. If you're not here, I suggest you do whatever it takes to smuggle this big beautiful Canadian into your life.