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Archive for May 19th, 2010

Guest Blogger: Meg Benjamin
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I’ll name Monday’s winner at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, welcome my an old friend of mine from Texas, Meg Benjamin! Here’s what she has to say about her latest release:

As I’ve said before, probably way too many times by now, I can’t listen to music while I write. Wish I could, but I can’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to listen to music while I’m doing other things, however. In fact, one of the things I really miss about Texas is the great music you hear all the time. Texas musicians just rock, and no matter where you live in the state, there’s always a road house around the bend somewhere. You know how there are some songs that just kind of wash over you, like audible warm water, and some songs that make you just want to, well, move? Texas musicians specialize in the latter.

Which brings me to my subject—James McMurtry’s song “Red Dress.” Now McMurtry is one of my all-time favorite Texas musicians, probably best known for his “Choctaw Bingo,” which is a real rave-up. But “Red Dress” is one of those songs that makes you want to do a little hip swinging. Every time I hear it, I end up swaying in my seat. It’s slow, sensuous, with a really heavy beat and oddly ominous lyrics (you get the feeling the singer is going to be ripping that red dress to shreds any minute). And it haunted my thoughts when I was writing Wedding Bell Blues. I wanted a scene where my heroine, a “good girl” named Janie Dupree, could cut loose and give some hints about the bad girl that lies beneath the surface. That gave me the idea for a scene where Janie and her friends danced to McMurtry’s “Red Dress” while the hero, Pete Toleffson, watched. I have to say, every time I worked on this scene, I started by playing “Red Dress” to get myself in the mood. Here’s an excerpt. If you want to judge how well the song fits the action, there’s always iTunes!


A series of guitar chords, rhythmically hypnotic, came over the sound system. Docia jumped to her feet. “Come on, ladies, let’s do it,” she called, heading for the concrete slab. Allie trooped behind her, as Janie turned to beckon to Bethany.

“Oh, Christ,” Cal murmured. “Here we go.”

“Here goes what?”

Cal shook his head. “You’ll see.”

The song had something to do with a red dress. Pete managed to get his brain to register that much. The singer seemed to be upset because his girlfriend was wearing a red dress he didn’t recognize and he figured she was playing around.

The slow, sensuous rhythm of the guitar and bass filled the air and the four women moved their bodies more or less in unison, like some cowgirl chorus line.

Pete glanced at Wonder and saw him swallow hard as he watched Allie.

Then he looked back at the women again.

Janie Dupree moved in a graceful swaying motion, her eyes closed, as if she were dancing for herself alone. She raised her arms above her head and moved her body back and forth, the most elegant bump and grind he’d ever seen.
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