hometown Crystal Beach into the sea.
by Brian Creech
While the total destruction Huricane Ike wrecked on the Texas coast is still
being gathered, the residents of small Crystal Beach are left without a town to
come home too.
Crystal Beach is a vacation community, at one time filled
with empty summer homes that were leveled by a 12 foot storm surge on September
12th. With an estimated population
between 800 and 1600 people, it is the largest community on Bolivar Peninsula
where the steely independent residents have fought to stay unincorporated.
singer-songwriter Hayes Carll calls Crystal Beach home and spent four years
honing his songs in the bars frequented by posh vacationers, shrimpers, and oil
workers alike. The eclectic characters
he met while playing these bars fill the songs in his catalog. His
self-released 2005 album Little Rock topped Americana charts and Lost Highway released his third album, Trouble in Mind, earlier this year.
Carll hosts the Stingaree Music Festival on Crystal Beach
each April and his Highway 87 label is named after the road that takes you to
the seaside town. He has said about the town, “When I started, I moved
down to this place called Crystal Beach, Texas where you need to take a ferry
from Galveston across the bay to get to this
little peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s
this isolated coastal community with a wild assortment of people either hiding
out, hanging on or getting lost– a lot of drugs and drinking, a fair amount of
violence, but at the same time a lot of really interesting people with great
stories to tell. Folks in the bars there weren’t necessarily interested in what
I had to say as a songwriter– they wanted to hear David Allan Coe and Merle
Haggard, and other stuff they knew. So that’s what I did six nights a week for
four years. I haven’t run into tougher crowds since. It was an initiation into
becoming a performer.”
He is currently on tour in England where, manager Mike Crowley
says, “He’s devastated about the complete destruction of Crystal
says Carll is writing something that he’ll post soon on his web site: www.hayescarll.com “It’s all gone,” Crowley
says of the working class town on Galveston
Bay’s Bolivar Peninsula.
“I’ve seen the footage and it looks like a tornado hit. It’s just concrete
Hayes Carll in Crystal Beach Memories: