Cowboy (Re)Boot

23 Mar

countrycoversIt’s been a transitional time here at Chez Recon, musically speaking. I’ve noted my flagging interest in rock and roll here before, but what I haven’t mentioned is that I’ve been listening to a steady diet of Country Music over the past few months. Yes, this is indeed an odd turn of events. Not unlike Jake and Elwood Blues, I’d previously reckoned C&W to be overly sentimental, kinda cornball, and pretty forgettable music at best.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. Fired by Nick Cave and Chris D. in the later 80’s, I once went through a phase ferreting out eerily captivating murder/prison ballads by guys like Johnny Cash, Eddie Noack, and David Allen Coe. I also spent a fair bit of time in the early 90’s rediscovering the flow n twang of formative West Coast country rock bands like The Byrds, The Burrito Brothers, The Dead and their ilk. But last year, whilst combing through yet another shitty, 70’s singer-songwriter record vainly searching for that elusive, song-to-end-all-songs, I experienced an epiphany of sorts. It hit me, clear as a ringing bell: if you want a good song, you gotta go down to Nashville.

Since then, my ears have been filled to the brim with country music, more country music, and still more country music. From the 40’s western swing of Bob Wills, through Owen Bradley’s Nashville Sound and Billy Sherrill’s Countrypolitan in the 60’s/70’s, on up to 80’s neo-traditionalist hat acts like Dwight Yoakam and Randy Travis, I’ve been trying to digest it all. Which is no mean feat; taken in total, country music is one thick-cut, juicy steak with all the fixings. It’s an endless feast that I could be tucking into for decades.

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time with the erudite proprietor of York’s Rebound Records disecting dysfunctional honky-tonk logic, weighing the relative merits of syrupy string sections and bellowing gospel choirs backing ornery hicks, and querying why country artists have often been overlooked in the CD reissue frenzy of the past couple decades. I’ve also had heated debates with my long-suffering wife about my interest in irresponsible drunks such as George Jones and Johnny Paycheck, which often devolve into accusations that I am either a) turning into a particularly sick, perverse bastard, or b) lapsing gradually into senseless stupidity. Needless to say, it’s all grist for the mill for some renewed Pig State Recon action.

So I am back to set the record Strait – er, straight. Expect blog posts to appear here in the near future by an unreconstructed rock and roll fan as he tries to get his head around a new found love of Country Music.

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4 Responses to “Cowboy (Re)Boot”

  1. Disaster Amnesiac aka Shovedhead March 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Makes sense for a Texas guy! “taken in total, country music is one thick-cut, juicy steak with all the fixings. It’s an endless feast that I could be tucking into for decades”! AWESOME.

    • mrowster March 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Mark. I’ve always considered myself the least-country Texan in this world, but apparently C&W runs deeper

      • Disaster Amnesiac aka Shovedhead March 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

        Well, I do look forward to reading more posts about your discoveries!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Christgau Country | Pig State Recon - April 1, 2013

    […] no longer the man I thought I was either, musically speaking. And in my recent awakening to country music, I’ve become aware of another, more useful side to the writings of the Dean of American Rock […]

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