Music

Kinky Friedman Talks His Camp For Gold Star Kids, Willie Nelson and 'I Love You When it Rains' [Video Premiere]

Echo Hill Records

Legendary singer-songwriter, novelist, humorist and former Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman reflects on an old flame on the wistful "I Love You When It Rains," from his 2019 album Resurrection

The song's music video, directed by David Von Roehm for Luck Films, was filmed at Friedman's own beloved Texas Hill Country ranch. The land has long been special to Friedman (his parents ran a summer camp there for 50 years), but soon the ranch outside of Kerrville will be even more magical.

Friedman and his sister Marcie Friedman (a certified camp director) are transforming the ranch into the Echo Hill Ranch Gold Star Camp, where Gold Star children (children whose mothers or fathers were killed or died while serving in the United States military) can attend summer camp completely free of charge.

The Echo Hill Ranch Foundation has partnered with several military nonprofits serving Gold Star families to identify "campership" candidates. Each of three 10-day sessions slated for 2021 will include 50 to 60 campers ages 8 through 12. The third session is for children of deceased first-responders.

Below, watch the video for "I Love You When It Rains" and read an excerpt from our recent conversation with the Kinkster.

 

On 'I Love You When It Rains':

"'I Love You when It Rains' was inspired by a girlfriend of mine who's still alive. Most of the people I love are dead and I didn't realize that until the record Resurrection was finished... This was a girlfriend who borrowed my credit card on a little shopping trip. When I was touring in Europe, she was charging up stuff -- everything from Amazon Marketplace to Anthropologie. The song was co-written with with Doc Elliot, who's like 23 years old. I'm 75, though I read at the 77-year-old level."

On Willie Nelson:

"Willie is kind of my psychiatrist. I like to tell a story of him calling at three o'clock in the morning, just two or three years ago. I was watching Matlock and Willie says, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm watching Matlock." Willie says 'Well, turn it off, Kinky. Turn Matlock off. It's very bad energy, bad karma. And start writing.' Well, at that time, I hadn't written a song in 40 years. I kind of came out of the woods and I wrote 12 of them in a very short period of time -- kind of inspired by Willie. Well, it was inspired by Willie. Willie was in Hawaii and I called him and told him, 'I've written 12 songs, Willie, in less than a month.' And he said 'Well, I'd like to hear them, send 'em on to me.' I said okay. Then I said 'Willie, you're feeling okay right? I'm hearing all these rumors that you're not feeling good.' Willie said, 'Well, you know, it's a little up, a little down -- the usual.' And then he said, 'By the way, Kinky, what channel is Matlock on?' So, that's the question we all need to have answered: What channel is Matlock on? But I turned it off and have never watched it since. I think Willie's right. I think that we all have a Matlock. It may not be Matlock...just something you waste a lot of time with."

"I think Willie does believe he's my psychiatrist. He's a good psychiatrist. I mean, he's a very wise, wise man. That's why we call him the hillbilly Dalai Lama."

On who inspires him:

"I mean, when you get to be 75, the Lord wants you around, apparently, for some reason.  You see Willie and Bob Dylan and Billy Joe Shaver and people like that -- they're the geezers that inspire people. It's hard to find a middle-aged singer that really inspires you. This whole crop of new singers -- they may be making millions -- but are they really inspiring anybody? Are they just playing NASCAR music or background music for a frat party?  Not to put them down, you know. I mean, if you can figure out a way to make millions of dollars in music, God bless you."

On his Echo Hill Ranch Gold Star Camp for kids:

"My parents ran [Echo Hill Ranch] for about 60 years and it's a beautiful place right here in the Hill Country of Texas, surrounded by green hills. The camp closed about six or seven years ago and there's nothing sadder than looking at it. It's like an amusement park that was closed down. So my sister and I concocted this idea of starting a camp for Gold Star kids... These kids are going to have a great world-class experience of a fine private camp. There'll be all the basics: horseback riding, swimming, climbing the hills, nature study and on and on. And it'll be mostly fun. That's the game. And, once we take you, you can come back as many years as you want because it's a forever thing."

"Winston Churchill said 'We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.' And most of my energies now
are devoted to making a life and not a living."

 To donate to Echo Hill Ranch Gold Star Camp or to find information about volunteering, visit echohill.org.

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Kinky Friedman Talks His Camp For Gold Star Kids, Willie Nelson and 'I Love You When it Rains' [Video Premiere]