Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Decline of Country Music

Today I read the posts at http://dekerivers.wordpress.com/2007/04/23/getting-old-at-the-grand-ole-opry/ and it made me think about some of the things I've seen in the Music world lately.

I grew up in the back of a station wagon surrounded by amps, speakers, guitars and so on as my Dad travelled from one gig to another around the Western US. My brother and I played classic country in bars and cafes around southern Oregon several years ago. I have done a single act in the same kinds of bars as well as being a singer in a couple of country bands. I've even had the distinction of playing in a chickenwire cage like in the movie "Roadhouse"! There's an experience best missed if possible!

A few years ago, I began following the Cowboy Entertainer shows. I kind of slowed down on calling them Cowboy Poetry shows as people seem to be afraid of poetry in all its forms. Just listen to good Cowboy Poetry once and you'll be clamoring for more but I digress. I had gotten started with this Cowboy thing for several reasons. First, it really is the life I was leading at the time. Second, my musical experience doing bar gigs where the audience has no idea what you are playing most of the time. they are busy shooting pool, getting drunk, trying to find a wife for the night...all those wholesome "honky-tonk" pursuits we all know and love. So, an original song really isn't noticed. Just; is there a beat you can dance to?
Concerts, dinner shows, specialty events...all places where my original songs are noticed, my renditions of the old cowboy ballads are appreciated and classic country is loved. That plus the exceptional talent I was seeing all around me with these Cowboy performers and then add the love and friendship we all share for each other. Those are the main reasons I'm headed for these Cowboy Entertainer shows whenever I get a chance.
But, to speak to the theme of the dekerivers blog, todays country music executives are not seeing the truth of what's going on out here. I still do bar gigs once in a while and even the younger audience enjoys my old classic country. I get requests for Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings songs all the time. And not just from old farts like me, either! Kids, with their pants hanging down around their knees and rings in their (?) are asking for old country.
Check with Jason Deshaw about his popularity at college campuses all over the country. You'd better look around Nashville and see the trees in your forest. Or pretty soon the Western Artists will be running the show and you'll be taking the back seat! Hopefully that happens while I'm still not too old to play.


Ken wellard said...

Larry, couldn't agree with you more.I'm quite a bit older than you and have seen county and western music dcline, only to come back stonger than ever with the likes of: Hank williams, Johny Cash, Merle Haggart,Waylan & willie, George Strait and Alan Jackson. It seems to go in cycles. It's about time for another revival.

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