I must be getting ready to die. Yes, I realize this is a
strange statement to open any article with, but it is
the only explanation I can attribute to why, as a long-
time Jazz artist, I suddenly find myself attracted to,
and with an oversize hunger, for Country music.
Sure, I grew up in Texas, but that doesn't have
anything to do with it...or does it?
I don't mean to convey that I am switching genres
(gee, wouldn't that be something...the next Charlie
Pride?). But, I was recently channel surfing and
picked up on the video, "What Do You Know." The
name of the artist evades me now, but I thought the
But, this isn't the first time I've found myself enjoying
Country music. I also became, sort of, hooked on
Alan Jackson's "Itty Bitty" for its humorous wit as
well. Then, there was also the '80's snare with
Sawyer Brown and Lil Liza Jane <= (can't remember
if this was the song or the band.
And, I had, for years, enjoyed Buck Owens'
Christmas song, "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy,"
as well as his and Roy Clark's outrageous lyrics on
the long-lived television series, "Hee Haw."
Growing up in a small east Texas town during the
height of the '70's, there was only one station, KIVY,
which only played, what else? Country music. The
only way a black kid got to hear the Commodores
or the Ohio Players, was to buy the record, 8-track
cartridge, or cassette tape.
The only change in format for KIVY, occurred briefly
during the summer of '73 when Sam Willoughby, an
African-American disc jockey, finagled a rare
opportunity to host a 4-hour block show on Saturday
for Soul music (we thought we had died and gone to
However, that enjoyment was short-lived due to
Sam's unauthorized and unsuccessful attempt to
boost the signal from 1000 watts to 50,000 watts
in a single afternoon. Needless to say, Sam was
asked to quickly gather his belongings.
So, given the history of influence and environment,
perhaps this crazy mix of Jazz and Country isn't so
farfetched after all. I remember reading a post on
a discussion list once where a member brought up
the possibility in the future of rapping Country artists,
or Country artists that rapped. B-r-r-r-...just the
thought of it chills my spine.
I've sort of performed a self-diagnosis, with the
finding being that Country music artists, by and large,
are some of the best songwriters on earth...truly.
They are experts with, not only coming up with great
"hooks," but their uncanny ability to hold the listener's
undivided attention with humorous lyrics regarding
real life is unparalleled.
Actually, as I review the elements of this entire
article, I see what a contradiction it is within itself,
which is why I am now contacting my doctor for a
checkup, Dr. I. Don Pheelgood, who can, hopefully,
begin to make some sense of this strange brew.