July 2020: Defending the Music
“Man, that song sucks!”
That was the response I got as I commandeered the state of the art Pioneer cd player in my buddy’s maroon Pontiac Grand Am to play him the brand new Foo Fighters record that had just come out. That was 25 years ago this week. My peer group was comprised of folks who loved 90’s country like Garth, 90’s hip-hop like Snoop and anything heavy metal. Pantera and Metallica were the top two favorites, but we all loved anything heavy and loud. We were also music snobs without knowing what that meant. Our conversations veered all along the edges of Beavis and Butthead territory while sounding sligthly more intelligent. But intellect couldn’t mask the pure hatred and contempt that a downvoted song, artist or album could received. Stuart’s Winger love was nothing compared to tossing up something to this group that was deemed to “suck”.
I spent hours defending the Load/Re-Load era Metallica albums to this group. It made me dig deeper into the music I loved. It made me devour liner notes, interviews, documentaries. Not only did I need to love the music itself, I needed to know everything about it. I realize this makes me an outlier. The majority of people just want something they can hum along with while they drive to the grocery store or work. But some of us must dig deeper. It’s just in our DNA.
This thirst for musical knowledge and desire to know everything would serve me well as I dove into the Texas Music scene of the late 90’s. I had to know who produced it. Where it was recorded. Who played on it. Soon enough, I wasn’t defending so much as promoting. I was connecting the musical dots not unlike Michelle McNamara would go on to connect serial killer dots. I found patterns. I reveled in the relationships between projects.
This also allowed me to turn the type of cannons that were pointed at Dave Grohl loving teen me on the vast Nashville machine. The rise of bro country allowed me to spit some of the most hateful vitriol at the people who spent their lives making it. I’ve mellowed on that over the years and for the last decade or so, I’ve managed to focus on our Galleywinter mantra of supporting music we love, with the unspoken part of ignoring music we hate.
The firehose of content that comes spewing at each of us daily, really doesn’t allow for time to pay attention to things you don’t like or grab you. Finding an alternative is too easy. Stream a new song, binge a new show, donwload a new podcast.
My defense of the music I love is now promotion. I focus on the positives. I’m often (still) confronted with people who only listen to Top 40 country radio. Or better yet, when someone asked me what kind of music “that blog you run” covers, I get the opportunity to describe the most wonderful tapestry of artists, songwriters, supporters and family. It’s not perfect, but it is ours. And I’ll defend it and promote it just as staunchly as I defended and supported Foo Fighters and Load to a crowd of disapproving and disbelieving rural metal heads a lifetime ago.
-We had to call off River Jam 2020 due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. It’s a bummer, but not as big of a bummer as what we are all experiencing. Working on some virtual alternatives!
-I still miss sports, but it’s allowing me to fix my own golf handicap.
-Our outside cat died this week. He lived to be almost 18. I heard George Dunham say he thinks most cats live to be 20. I just wish dogs lived as long as cats.
-Tiger King was 4 months ago y’all.
-Can the second half of 2020 be any worse than the first half? We’re about to find out.
-Waterparks can remain open, but our river outfitter buddies must close? (insert Jennifer Lawrence thumbs up gif)
-Koe signed a record deal and he may be the one to crack the national success code due to his style. Will be interesting to see.
-This month’s recommended album: Corb Lund – Agricultural Tragic. Lund remains a songwriter that is hard to categorize. Canadian sensibilities intermingle with western mysticism and are all layered with doses of humor. Plus, it’s just damn melodic.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain