Texas has nurtured plenty of legendary musicians over the course of the century and it could be argued that Powell St. John merits a mention in the annals of state’s esteemed music history for his songwriting alone.
It's comforting that some 60's icons never sold out or compromised what they know to be true.
It’s an unofficial history of a time and place St. John was lucid enough to remember and document, which is a rare thing given the troubled fates of his contemporaries at the time. He almost seemed to be referencing it in Bye Bye Baby: “It seems you just got lost somewhere out in the world/And you left me here to face it all alone.”
Having already returned to Texas at large, he’s finally making his way back to Houston.
Each song on the CD “On My Way to Houston” displays a far-reaching knowledge of American music history. Through his knowledge and devotion, he taps into the blues, rock, and folk traditions. Luckily for the listener, this isn’t merely some dry history lesson. The songs are braced with melody and boundless energy, and his voice is warm with wisdom.
SF Weekly – Frisco Freakout
Highlights of this Saturday's Freakout include legendary Texas songwriter Powell St. John, Stooges sax player Steve MacKay skronking it up with locals Liquorball, and nine other California bands churning out tripped-out rock accompanied by lysergic light shows.
Powell St. John’s story looks a little like labelmate Peter Walker’s. During the 1960s, St. John was on the edge of great things – he was pals with Janis Joplin, wrote songs for the 13th Floor Elevators, and co-fronted a proto-roots ensemble with Tracy Nelson called Mother Earth – but never really got his career off the ground. Family obligations eventually obligated him to retreat into day-job anonymity. And like Walker, he has enjoyed a late-in-life comeback on his own terms.
Music lovers from either side of the divide are encouraged to listen up, as St. John is not only a vital, living link to the past, there's a spark and a spirit afoot in his songs and in his playing that's inspirational for the here-and-now.
The songs on the CD “On My Way to Houston” are great, with the spirits of Dylan and Neil Young hovering, but Powell's songwriting and impassioned, backporch vocal style bring a unique vibe all its own.
Bill Bentley – My Daily Find
Very few names in rock carried the early mystery of Powell St. John.
Austin Chronicle Picks and Sleepers – SXSW 2009 –
The Music Gym - While maybe not as iconic as some of his late-1960s Texas psych contemporaries, Powell St. John is every bit the Hall of Famer they are (literally, as he was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2005). The former beatnik is perhaps best known for writing material for the 13th Floor Elevators, not to mention Boz Scaggs and Janis Joplin. – Michael Bertin