Did you catch it? David Schnaufer and that famous Gram Parsons suit
Updated: May 19, 2022
If you're not sure what a "Nudie suit" is in the context of country music, you might want to read here before you start reading this post. (Before we moved close to Nashville, I had no idea!)
If you read and watched the earlier post's video of Emmylou singing with Gram Parsons all the way to the end, you'll know that there are two performances on thatYoutube video. The first half takes place at Houston's Liberty Hall in 1973 when David (and, unbeknownst to him, his future manager John Lomax III) was in the audience to watch Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris perform on a tour stop. The second half of that video (starts at 2:54) is from a television performance of Gram with the Flying Burrito Brothers. If you watch the whole performance, you'll get glimpses of Parsons wearing one of Nudie Cohn's most famous suits. Here it is:
If you've read Pluck, you might remember the intersection within David's story of the suit with another Lomax, Melanie Wells Lomax and Gram Parsons.
By the nineties, Nashville producer Melanie Wells Lomax owned the late Parsons' Nudie suit. When David and his manager John Lomax III conceptualized David's first music video, the three thought it apropos to have David wear Parsons' suit for one quick scene during his dulcimer performance of Hank Williams' classic, "I'm so lonesome, I could cry".
(An FYI: if you've looked up this song along with David's name on YouTube, it will take you to a clip from a Nashville Now t.v. appearance; while a lovely performance, this clip is not from his first music video of the Hank Williams song. That video is not on Youtube.)
Back to the story: David donned Parson's suit for a scene in the "Lonesome" video, thus completing a full circle in David's journey toward becoming a groundbreaking musician. That 1973 night at Liberty Hall, Gram Parsons lit a fire to David's passion to become a musician. Later, John Lomax III married Melanie who later bought the (in)famous Parsons suit. A brief two years after David arrived in Nashville, John Lomax III helped launch David's career to the national stage. David then wore the Parsons suit for his first music video.
This suit-traveling from Parsons to the Lomaxes to David--is one of the many unlikely, serendipitous events in David's story.
If you don't know or remember who Gram Parson's was, here's a succinct video overview of his life that is worth a watch.
Melanie has lent the Parsons' Nudie suit to the Country Music Hall of Fame. See front and back via the link.
Listen to one of Gram and Emmylou's most famous duets, Love Hurts.