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Rosie Flores: Songwriters Sojourn

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San Antonio native Rosie Flores has been playing the famous South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin since 1988 and she'll be featured again this year, promoting a new record, “Girl of the Century."


I should not be out hearing everybody else. I should be home writing my own songs.
– Rosie Flores


Although she's lived in California and Nashville, she's permanently a resident of Texas.

When the mayor of Austin declared August 31, 2006, as “Rosie Flores Day,” Flores was at a low point in her life, both professionally and personally.

“I had been in Nashville for seven years,” she said. “It wasn't a good time for me. My mom was sick and I lost her. It wasn't easy to open doors in that town. It was a real struggle.”

Living in Nashville wasn't all bad news, however. Flores said she made some good friends and got to hang out with really good songwriters. But, after recording a record for a label that folded and a failed attempt at starting her own label, she decided to come back to Texas.

“I'm past all that now,” Flores said. “I'm happy to be back in the state I was born in.”

Flores was already playing a mean guitar when the family moved from San Antonio to Southern California when she 12. By 16, she was playing in garage bands. The Bakersfield sound blended with Flores' Tex-Mex flavored music, resulting in a style Flores describes as “hard-core rocking country-slash-rockabilly.”

Flores recently returned from a 6-week working vacation in Australia and New Zealand, where she did a few gigs, but spent most of the time writing her memoirs.

“It's a new medium for me,” she said from a Houston hotel room prior to a gig. “The book's called 'Whacky Truck Stop Candy.’ I've been collecting stories and candy for years. The first chapter is 'Dirty Laundry Candy.'”

On her trip, Flores spent time in Fairlie, a small town south and east of Christchurch.

“I've always talked about writing a book, but this was the first time I treated myself like a writer,” Flores said. “I got up in the morning and wrote for three hours. I took a break and then wrote in the afternoon. It was really a lot of fun.”

Flores hopes to find some success in publishing, as she's been on the road with her music for a long time.

“I'm at an age that getting in a van and traveling for 10 hours just doesn't suit me,” she explained. “I mean, I feel like I'm 21 again when I'm on stage. I feel like Jimmy Paige (Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame guitarist for Led Zepplin). But traveling is not so much fun anymore.”

The self-proclaimed party girl says her six weeks Down Under helped her creativity flow, which is a great boost when she sits down to write songs.

“I love the songwriting craft,” Flores said. “The number one thing I have to have to do songs is time.”

In the past three years, Flores has dealt with “some stuff” in her personal life, as well as the death of her mother.

However, she believes 2010 will be better.

“I've got a few [songs] in my basket I'm working on,” she said. “I'm not going out as much. I should not be out hearing everybody else. I should be home writing my own songs.”

While Flores is a top shelf songwriter, she's no slouch when in comes to the guitar. She counts Paige and Jeff Beck as her musical influences. She hits some pretty good licks on “This Cat's in the Doghouse” on the new CD.



“Right now, I'm playing a Fender Telecaster and a James Trussart,” said Flores.

For everything she's been through in the past several years, Flores is grateful for her friends and fans, and is content with her place in the world of music makers.

“I realized how lucky I am when I was in Australia and was being interviewed by a newspaper,” she said. “I really like where I'm at as far as the level of fame because I'm well enough known to fill a little hall, but I don't have to be shuffled from a hotel room to a limo to a venue and back to the limo. I get to know my fans. People are so nice to me. I'm just mirroring them.”

This is the seventh part in “A Songwriter’s Sojourn,” a series featuring songwriters from Texas - or with close ties to Texas - who stayed true to their craft,  lived up to their gifts and left their mark on the world of music.
For more about Rosie Flores, visit www.rosieflores.com
Flores will be performing at the Bloodshot Records party on Friday, March 19, at Yard Dog Gallery, from 2:55 p.m. until 3:25. Flores will be followed by Justin Townes Earle from 3:55 p.m. to 4:05 p.m.

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