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2013-09-26

Bandera Music HoF to honor Lore Orion

By Mary Allyce Special to the Courier

"Star" metaphors abound when you learn musician-writer-artist-cowboy the late Lore Orion named himself after the constellation. The Bandera Music Hall of Fame voters and committee members recognized that star quality by selecting Orion as the 2013 Songwriter and conferring a Lifetime Achievement honor on him as well.
Born Lawrence Shoberg, in La Jolla, California, Orion spent time growing up on his grandparents' ranch where he honed his cowboy persona. The rest of his childhood was less idyllic, but he credits art with getting him through difficult times.
"By high school," he said, "I was playing guitar, writing poetry and doing my artwork." His first band, "The Flying Circus," had a playlist of Rolling Stones and Beatles songs, as well as his own original music. "It sucked - terribly!" he admitted. After graduation, he traveled north to San Francisco's Haight Ashbury, where he met musicians like Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead, one of several bands for whom he designed album art.
"The 'Summer of Love' was about sharing," he said once, but when politics changed the Haight from a pure social statement to that of activism, the surfer from La Jolla looked to New York and publishing opportunities.
Peddling self-written and illustrated material, he wrote gags and illustrated for "The National Lampoon," then at DC Comics for the "House of Mystery" and "House of Secrets" series. Three children's books with McGraw-Hill published under "Lore Shoberg," completed his time in New York and Orion returned to California, to artwork and the music he'd never stopped playing.
The New Riders of The Purple Sage used his art for albums, "Powerglide" and "Panama Red" and band member, Spencer Dryden, encouraged Orion to take his music to Nashville.
His first day in Nashville, "Whispering" Bill Anderson picked up Orion's song, "That's What Made Me Love You" and turned it into a hit.
Orion continued designing artwork for artists like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. After recording some of Orion's material, Jennings told him, "Son, you're way ahead of your time."
Longtime friend and Grammy winning songwriter, Bobby E. Boyd - aka "Bandera Bob" - calls Lore Orion "The greatest talent the world never knew," and continues promoting his music in Nashville. Orion's music is also featured in a documentary currently in production.
While in Nashville, Orion sold on small labels waiting for the "big record deal." MCA signed him and his band, Bandera, in the late '70s and success seemed near. One album later, "Bandera Knights," the deal fell flat and Orion headed to Austin and more musical freedom.
On the way, he stopped in Bandera, fell in love with his "Kowgirl," Kelly, signed on at her family's Mayan Dude Ranch as a wrangler and never left. He continued to perform as "Lore and The Legends" through the late '80s across Texas and extensively in England before stopping to concentrate on his writing.
The multi-talented Lore Orion passed away on June 4, 2013. "He was a strong and powerful presence," said Kelly. "Obviously, this is a huge honor and he would be so pleased." Join Kelly, along with the couple's two "Adopted Angels," Kidd and Rio, on Sunday, Oct. 27, when they accept Orion's posthumous honors on the patio behind the library.

Pictured: Members of the Bandera Music Hall of Fame will honor the late Lore Orion, left, posthumously as 2013 Songwriter and for Lifetime Achievement on Sunday, Oct. 27. Here, Orion is pictured with his longtime friend and Grammy winning songwriter, Bobby E. Boyd - aka "Bandera Bob."