January 2016-Labeling the Uncatergorical

You’ve been there.  A conversation about music comes up with a stranger.  They’re going on and on about the music they dig.  A lot of times in this part of the world that means “country music”.  You tell them you like country music…but not that country music.   Well, what do you mean they ask.  Then the stammering begins. One of the major points we love about our kind of music (OKOM) is that it doesn’t fit nicely within labels.  It can be too country for rock, too rock for country; too Nashville for Texas and too Texas for Nashville…sometimes all on the same album.

It’s cliche in and of itself to be the “hey man, music shouldn’t have labels” guy.  But it is true.  To only be beholden to one style would be boring.  My hometown is a podunk wasteland of decay that forced me to grow up with an affinity for country music.  And I love it.  But, it also forced me to seek out alternatives.  Rap, rock, soul, blues and even pop hold sizable portions of my music library.  If it can make me feel something either lyrically, melodically or both then it’s in.  Label or genre be damned.

The death of David Bowie this morning reflects that.  Nobody transitioned more than he did.  From folk to glam to pop to rock to electronic.  He did it all.  The same guy.  He had all of those things within him.  We all do.  He was just brave enough to put it out on front street.  He chose not to chase trends, but rather create them.  Artists and bands that do that will always stand the test of time, even if their commercial peaks aren’t as tall as others.  Their valleys rarely reach as low as the lowest lows.

Standing on your convictions and being true to the music in your heart is the best thing you can do.  As I was writing this, I decided to peruse my most recently played artists on Spotify.  They were: Cage the Elephant, Leon Bridges, Dawes, Shovels and Rope, Jason Isbell, Lew Card, Kurt Vile, Alabama Shakes, Drake, Frank Ocean, Sturgill Simpson, Motorhead, Jack White and Kanye. Very few of those, if any, would be classified as “Texas Music”…yet they are in some way or another. Yes, even Kanye.

When it’s not found in the sound, it’s found in the attitude.

We dig music that speaks to us. We dig music that pushes boundaries. We dig music that’s different.  It doesn’t have to come from Texas or Oklahoma to do that.  It’s just cooler when it does.



-Venturing into the podcast realm after nudges from many people I trust.

-RRB’s “San Antone” is going to be the biggest song in “the scene” this year.

-Watch the Bowie documentary “Five Years”

-Steamboat in the rearview; LJT on the horizon; Greenfest planning in full force; and my first trip to Hangout fest on the agenda.

-2015 was a great year for music.  Will 2016 live up to it?

-Young artists hit me up for advice from time to time.  I shoot honest and straight with them.  Some can handle it, some can’t.  Guess which ones end up making it?

-Add me to the chorus that wishes college football would switch to some sort of expanded playoff format ie.-FCS on down.  If it’s good enough for #txhsfb, it’s good enough for the NCAA.

-Winter truly is the worst season.

-Is it baseball season yet?

-Late night TV has never been better.  So many solid, funny options and due to technology you don’t have to actually stay up to watch them.

-This month’s recommended album: Lew Card – Follow Me Down.  Austin songwriter Lew Card has been a Galleywinter favorite for several years.  He’s got a wry sense of humor and a laid back delivery that belies the wisdom held in his lyrical gems. I said on Twitter this record sounds like Leon Redbone recorded an album in Austin with Uncle Lucius.  Listen to it.

-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”- Mark Twain


Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

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