Texas, USA - 2022
Large – 56” x 84” Unframed, 71” x 99” Framed – Edition of 12
Standard - 37” x 56” Unframed, 52” x 71” Framed - Edition of 12
Not long after the end of prohibition, Devil’s Backbone in Texas’s Hill Country started to sell beer and became something of a one stop shop destination as drivers could also refuel and buy provisions. The landmark destination, as well as claiming to be the oldest dive bar in Texas, also claims to be the inspiration behind the Garth Brooks’ country music classic “Beer Run”.
There are opportunities to tell stories at the Backbone; I just needed to find a different angle. My plan was to use longhorn steer that are, of course, heavily associated with this part of the world. Austin’s University of Texas is less than an hour’s drive away and even in the UK we know about the Longhorns.
It struck me that there was a chance to bring two stories together as one and see if we could raise the bar in the narrative. If this Honky-Tonk really was the inspiration for the song “Beer Run”, well maybe the steer could be the one responsible for the pick-up. In this most Texan of bars, we could cast the most Texan of animals.
Some ideas are a waste of time because there is absolutely no chance of executing them and this concept did seem a little ambitious. A longhorn steer can weigh up to 1300 pounds and whilst the one we chose was domesticated, this is not the most spacious of bars.
We had to work quickly and compose precisely and I think we pulled it off. I wanted the cowboys to act with total indifference as if this was the most usual of events in Texas, but I instructed the girl on the piano to play up a little. Perhaps she was not a regular.
~ David Yarrow