Some days I hate Vern Gosdin. "Is it Raining at Your House?", "Do You Believe Me Now?", "If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong, Do It Right?" and "Would These Arms Be In Your Way?" are songs that are easily accessible - in my phone or in my car or in my computer. Ugh. There are days when I torture myself with heartbreak.
I played a show last weekend at the Western Kountry Klub in Midlothian, TX. It's a dancehall that was originally a roller rink. . . On a side note, my drummer that night was Billy English and his best friend came out because he and Billy had played that dancehall back in the skating rink days (I'm still trying to imagine skating to a live band). . . . sorry I'm getting sidetracked. . . The place was used for all of the dancehall scenes in George Strait's movie "Pure Country" and besides it's claim to fame, it has 2 of the most awesome owners you would ever want to know, Jerry Mack Cook and Barbara Dyan Cook (yes, in the South, we tend to use your first AND middle names).
Before the show I talked to a gal who said that when she was going through a divorce her mother criticized her for listening to country music because it was "too sad". And she talked to me about that yes it was sad and brought out a lot of feelings, but somehow it made her feel better. We talked about how country music speaks to our souls and connects with this place inside of us that (obviously) mainstream 2013 society does not get.
I understand the battle over the term "country music" all too well. I understand Dale Watson's "Ameripolitan" moniker and hope that he is successful in his efforts. There are those of us that do not give a rat's a$$ whether a song has a certain instrumentation or whether the production is from the 1960s or the 1980s or even 2013. We just know. We hear a song and we just know that it is country music.
It is this music that touches our soul - that makes us cry and makes us laugh. It makes us celebrate Life with our friends - the heartaches and the triumphs. Lyrically it's written in "simple man" vernacular. We just spell it out - "oh the next time the phone rings, I won't answer. I don't want to be the fool I was tonight. I don't want to know the truth. I don't want to see the proof. If you're gonna do me wrong, do it right." Yeah, it's usually all laid out on the table with pedal steel guitar and fiddle, but I've heard great country songs that was missing one or the other, and occasionally both.
For us country fans, country music is connecting - to our hearts and souls and to the hearts and souls of others that "get it". As Dale Watson says, "Cryin in a beer is commonplace round here. But when the sun goes down, nobody's wearin a frown. That's the life that we live." For us, nothing cures a heartache like a bar with good friends and good music.
Jason Allen was driving in his car, listening to songs that he was going to record harmonies on for my new record (at the time), "Wrong Is What I Do Best". A songwriter friend was in the car with him and he said, "Now THAT's country."
I struggle with this genre. I struggle with every aspect of this "business". But the best compliment you could ever give me is when you hear a song of mine you say, "Now THAT is country".