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{Off The Cuff} The Real Girls in the Songs and With the Songs

As the father of a young daughter, husband to a strong wife, brother of an awesome sister and son of a loving mother I’ve been taking in all this “Girl in a Country Song” vs Bro-Country brouhaha with a keen interest from afar.  The Bro-Country phenomenon is a fad.  A passing fancy no different than the Urban Cowboy, Countrypolitan, Neo-traditionalist, or Hat Act eras. It’s interminable in the moment, but will be gone relatively soon.

The difference in those previous fads and the current Bro-Country one is that those paid deference to women (for the most part–there were sexist elements that were a product of their time).  They respected them.  They weren’t just booty shorts on a tailgate. They weren’t just compared to a melody or relegated to disrespectful arm candy via the most baseless, brain-dead lyrics imaginable. I can’t fathom Conway Twitty, Charlie Rich, Randy Travis, George Strait, Keith Whitley et al singing about throwing beer cans at a girl’s window, skinny dipping in a river, or stripteasing in the bed of a pickup. Would they possibly allude to those things?  Sometimes.  But, they’d do it in a very clever manner.

The degradation of women is nothing new in the hip-hop world.  The late 90’s/early 00’s was fraught with the same types of disrespect women are currently being shown in country music.   Rap music, at large, moved beyond those elements years ago.  Nashville is still embracing them (just as they rip off the most corny elements of that terrific, urban artform).  As usual, mainstream country is over a decade behind pop culture trends. The Music City taste-makers are reminiscent of the out of touch parents trying to desperately cling to relevance and relatability by using lingo that was cool five years ago.  That’s so blingy dope, right kids?

There are many differences between mainstream country and the Texas/Red Dirt/Americana versions we promote and dig on this website and in this music scene. Sometimes that gap doesn’t seem quite as wide as it truly is.  One of the elements that provides tangible proof of that creative gap is the manner in which females in general are revered and the way female talent is treated.

Down here, women in song are on equal footing with the guys.  In lyrics they aren’t treated as objects, they are the dynamic human beings God created them to be.  The girls in our songs are powerful, respected, loved, cherished and above all…real.  You don’t find them in daisy dukes popping and locking around a bonfire.  You hear references to how special they are. Our music also doesn’t trifle in generalities.  The girls in our songs are specific, unique and well drawn.**

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They aren’t country Barbie characters shaking it for catfish in a creek.  Our songs may not have the same mass appeal as the Bro-Country purveyors, but isn’t it better that ours showcase authentic intellect and respect?

Which brings me to the girls we have down here that aren’t just in the songs, but bring us the songs.  Female artists have always had a harder road to travel.  While that is no different in Texas overall, the road is not as bumpy down here.  I booked and managed Kristen Kelly for three years.  During that time she went from dive bars to a record deal. I know how the game works. She had to be twice as good onstage to get half the attention.  The band surrounding her had to be the best players around. Getting folks to pay attention was the hardest part of the battle. However, maintaining that interest and reeling them in once they were hooked was the most challenging.

Audiences down here are looking for something fresh. We are a little more forgiving.  We want original material. We are equal opportunity supporters.  One of the best things about this music scene that I’ve witnessed over the years is its lack of boundaries…musically, socially and culturally.  We don’t care where you’re from or what you look like as long as you deliver something that fits in our wheelhouse. If your music is something we term as “good”, we’re on board no matter what.

Luckily for us, we’re in a great time of creative girls with our songs right now.  Kylie Rae Harris, Bri Bagwell, The Rankin Twins, Brandy Zdan, Kelley Mickwee, Jamie Wilson, Kayla Ray, Courtney Patton, Haley Cole, Tina Mitchell Wilkins and so many others.  These ladies are powerful, evocative, strong, authentic and fresh. They each have their own styles and stand on equal artistic footing down here in the minds of most music fans.

The Bro-Country backlash is in its infant stages.  Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song” is a cute missive fired against the Bro-Country ignorance, but it still may be a part of a  bit too close to the forest to see the trees scenario. It’s going to take scenes like ours.  Viewpoints like ours.  Artists like ours. Human beings like we have down here to help send it packing.  Keep supporting the real women in the songs and with the songs.

**Footnote–That young daughter of mine…this is her favorite song of the moment. She sings along to every word even though she may not understand the lyrical meanings yet.  She will get it one day and isn’t that powerful?

 

{Brad's Corner} August 2014: Scouting

{Brad�s Corner}

A few weeks back at Greenfest, I was having a conversation with an artist who wasn’t on the bill but was just there to take in all the music.  He told me “Galleywinter does it right, man.  Y’all are always ahead of the curve.” This is a sentiment I heard several times throughout the weekend and have heard many times before.  One time somebody compared us to the old Buzz Bin videos on MTV if you’re old enough to remember that.

Being in front of trends is a dangerous thing on the night you’re promoting a concert, but is a thrilling thing all other 364 days of the year.  Heck, it’s even thrilling the night of the big show. Our community has been all about exposing, promoting and sharing music we dig since Pat Green was a newcomer. Over the course of the past 15 or 16 years we’ve seen trends, bands, styles and artists come and go.

This process is very similar to that of a pro sports scout.  A grizzled baseball scout looking for that 5 tool player.  A hardened football scout seeking that raw, athletic phenom.  A gruff basketball scout searching for that versatile player that can fill multiple positions and hit a jump shot.  And so on. We’re always simply looking for new bands (and old) that turn our ears. Are they doing something new, unique, different, original, cool?

Over the years, we’ve identified bands we thought were on the cusp and they proved us right.  But, just like those sports scouts, we’ve missed on a few too. For every Randy Rogers Band and Turnpike Troubadours that we were first to pimp, we’ve also been all over bands that had all the tools but fizzled out or never caught on for one reason or another.  Ryan Turner and 11 Bones come to mind.

Keep Reading…

Do It For Durrett

DoItForDurrett_event

Monday Sept 8th at Billy Bob’s some of the brightest names in our music scene will gather to pay tribute to a sportswriter named Richard Durrett.  If you’re unfamiliar with Richard’s story, you may ask why?  Well, the answer lies in the fact that he was an unusually kind, caring person and really thorough professional journalist.  The type of guy that by the recounting of friends would text out individual texts for Fathers Day, New Year etc instead of a group text.  The type of guy that worked his way up the journalistic ladder quickly in the cutthroat world of modern sports journalism via sheer kindness and tenacity.  Tragically, Richard passed away suddenly at his home a few weeks back.  He leaves behind a young family.  His friends have organized this concert as a way to raise funds for his kids and honor their friend.

We can’t announce the line-up exactly just yet because of some fun, music-biz legalese radius clause stuff…but just know that you don’t want to miss it. In addition to the music, the night includes one of the largest sports auctions of all time.

For complete info:

Follow @DoItForDurrett on Twitter
For More Info/To Buy Tickets:  http://doitfordurrett.com/?p=569Keep Reading

{New Braunfels} Video: GREENFEST 14

GREENFEST 14 It’s no surprise that GREENFEST 14 was an incredible day, it was put together by people that love what many of us love; good music.  It’s been a week since it ended, and I still have nothing to say other than WOW.  As good as many previous years have probably been, GREENFEST 13 was my first year to attend.  My friends at Galleywinter asked me to help promote the event and I was more than happy to, but once the day was upon us I did what I always do, went into low-budget photography mode.  Here’s what my iPhone and I saw that day, I hope you were there, if not I hope you’ll be there for the next one!

visit the link below for an extended edition of the video: http://www.musicofnewbraunfels.com/2014/08/video-greenfest-14.htmlKeep Reading

Keeping the grass in the roots.

Thank you to everyone who has jumped in and bought your tickets to #gf14. It’s cool to have so many of you behind this. Words cannot express our gratitude. Tank, Brad and myself have been at this for a long time it seems. We’ve all paid some dues to keep this thing going along the way.

At end of night:

Tank, “Hey Hogleg, how much money you have?” -Greenfest 6 or 7

Point is that it hasn’t always been easy. We’ve bumped our heads a few times and into one another. Hell, I think I’ve bumped heads with most folks if they get around me long enough. haha Sometimes it’s completely unintentional and sometimes I’m aiming to give you a flying squirrel headbutt. One thing I know is this k-nowledge. If there is no fight in you. There is no passion. Our cup runneth over in the passion department. Tank and I promised one another when we started this gig was there will be no quitting. You can’t throw a festival 4-5 years and quit. That’s weak.

Greenfest is not about bringing you the artist everyone thinks is the shit right now to sell a bunch of tickets. It’s about bringing you bands and artists we think should be and are to the fore-front. We booked a band called the Turnpike Troubadours a few years back to open Greenfest for $500 bucks. That was another “How much money you got Hogleg?” year. I’m thinking that Turnpike fee has … Keep Reading