I was introduced to Steve Earle via my good friend and recording studio bassist Marty Harrison way back in 1987. At the time I was still with Jackyl and had more than my fair share of heavy metal. Listening to his Copperhead Road album was really the first step toward me
abandoning my dream of being a rock and roll star. Despite the obvious hard rock influences in his work the other band members honestly just didn't get it.
About that time I also started listening to the "outlaws" of music in general. I discovered hidden music treasures like Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, and Billy Joe Shaver. They all had a way of making kick-ass music mixed with some very cool ballads but their lyrics were far better than the stuff I had been feasting on at the time.
This made me dive further into my own "roots" music. One of my biggest regrets is not sharing an appreciation of Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash with my father. Both discoveries occurred after his death.
I very rarely listen to commercial radio. Instead I prowl the channels of my satellite radio for music Rolling Stone or Billboard aren't paying attention to. I love the Soul Music channel (The Temptations, The Ohio Players, The Isley Brothers, James Brown), the Blue Collar Comedy Channel, 1970s hits, and of course the ESPN stuff. By far my favorite is The Outlaw Channel which features stuff from Elvis Costello to Hank Williams, Sr.
My point is that everyone should explore music beyond what corporate America wants you to hear. I'm convinced there are plenty of talented local acts near you that want and need your support. And there are truly even more talented singer/song writers like Steve Earle and James McMurtry out there who still want to change the world.
Friday, June 20, 2008