Friday, April 19, 2019

Solitary Music


My musical tastes are, to an extent, eclectic. I appreciate genres that would have many of my generation shaking their heads (and wagging their finger at me, no doubt). From my perspective, a person who only likes, say, classic rock, is inflexible and missing out on some of life's musical joys. How many times can you listen to "Walk This Way"? Even if you happen to like it?

I've also come to like things I used to hate. When I was a kid, I thought Sinatra was putrid. Really putrid. Actually, however, he's not bad!

I always loved big band music. Give me a Glenn Miller tune any day.

I like roots rock 'n roll (a lot). And don't even get me started on '80's MTV-era tunes!

I grew up during arguably the best era for music ~ the sixties. Those hundreds (or thousands) of tracks will always claim a ventricle of my heart.

But, all in all, I'm a country girl. Country has always been the ugly stepchild in the eyes of the masses. I grew quite used to that when I was a teenager in love with country music. I actually hid the fact that I loved country ~ I was uncool enough already; I didn't need any extra help in that arena. Outside my immediate family, it wasn't until the nineties that I found simpatico people ~ suddenly I was surrounded by folks who only liked country music. Maybe it was a measure of the musical times. Country was pretty good back then. Every single person I worked with (save two or three), and I worked with a lot of people, listened to country exclusively. It was nice to have people to talk to about songs and friends who frequented concert venues with me. Granted, they didn't know country music history, but how many people did? My high school best friend (who'd reintroduced me to country) had moved on with her life, and we no longer spoke. That's why I rather consider country solitary music. I don't have anyone to which I can say, "Ooh, remember that one?" Because nobody would.

I was thinking about that as I read the autobiography of a former pop star who began a second musical career in Nashville. I'm skeptical that this guy would have recognized George Strait's name in the eighties, much less someone like Tracy Lawrence or Clay Walker or Mark Chesnutt (I bet he knew Kenny Rogers, though ~ which proves my point). I'm not calling this person an interloper...just naive. I sort of like that he suddenly realized country music is good, and he's definitely not someone who claims a verse in this song:


I also thought about how singular and solitary country music is when I read that Earl Thomas Conley had passed away. I don't understand why there isn't a music video, or at least a performance video of this song ~ it's one of my all-time favorites. Is it just me? I can't believe that. In the mid-to-late eighties this was the ultimate slow-dance song in honky tonks:


Throughout his career, Earl Thomas Conley charted more than thirty songs. How many artists can claim that? And yet, few people even know who he was. I miss my friends from the nineties ~ at least they'd know who I was talking about. 

Too, I was sad to learn that Hal Ketchum has retired from performing because he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. When buying CD's was a thing, I bought "Past The Point of Rescue", which featured this song that people wouldn't know was rather cynical unless they listened closely:


How many people recognize Hal Ketchum's name? Alzheimer's hits too damn close to home for me ~ Hal doesn't even know that he was once a country star. But I (we?) know. 

It scares me that we're going to lose more people and hardly anyone will notice.

That's kind of why I do this blog ~ so someone, at least, remembers. And acknowledges. 

Even if no one but me cares, these are artists who touched me.That counts for something in my musical world.


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