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.

20th Annual St. Anthony Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Hey there everyone! I know, I haven't been keeping up here very well but when there's nothing much to report...I don't.

We had a great show at St. Anthony again. It's one of my favorites, mostly because I don't have ANY work involved in getting it up and going and I get to see almost all my friends there. Some of us may not do any other shows together during the year but we'll be at StA together.

I took a bunch of videos this year and I'm slowly getting them uploaded to YouTube. Those of you who aren't familiar with Cowboy Poetry and/or Western Entertainment, here is your chance to learn. I just expect that we'll start seeing you at all the Gatherings you can find after this!

First, here is Vern Woodbury giving us his own version of Western Music:

Now, here's another one of my favorite performers, Bill Chiles, doing "Springtime in the Rockies".

And here is Wayne Nelson with his Classic: "Snowville"

And our friend from the Great White North: Mike Burns:

There were many other entertainers there and I have some more videos that I will be posting soon. Enjoy these and we welcome comments to the blog.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

St Anthony Gathering gets started

The St Anthony Gathering has started off with a great big BANG! We've been having a blast! The Thursday jam session was a lot of fun but we broke up too soon. Friday was a great time during the Day Show and then the night show line up was top.

I took some good videos and will be uploading some more of them when I get a chance. Here's one of John Westbrook (with me on rythm guitar) doing his version of Sheb Wolley's "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore".