We as music fans are nothing if not loyal. Especially in the Texas scene. Sometimes to a fault. I remember defending Pat Green in some circles right up to the point of “Let Me” and I seem to recall trying to justify Jack Ingram’s cover of “Lips of an Angel” to some audiences. Why would I do that? Because of the loyalty I felt to their previous material. I’d made such a strong connection with their prior music and it had woven itself into my life’s fabric in such a way that I was determined to see things through.
We are as passionate about few things as we are music. It’s our life’s soundtrack and surrounds us throughout each day. What we choose to play says a lot about who we are and what we believe in. When what we believe in changes itself, it is a hard pill to swallow.
I still vividly remember the first time I experienced this musical transformation phenomenon. My favorite band took several years between albums. They drastically altered their sound and image. When the first track and video leaked from the album many fans were outraged. I was patient. Then, when the album was finally released, my fears were alleviated. While different, it was still good.
The time was June 1996. I was barely driving and blasting metal at every turn. The band was Metallica. The album was Load. The backlash was immediate and those who actually kind of dug it (like me) were in the extreme minority.
To this day, the only person I’ve met that also likes Load is Josh Grider. It was a classic tale of a band stretching things and implementing new styles. James Hetfield added flourishes of blues and country to his thrashing, wailing lyrics detailing his broken childhood. Lars Ulrich’s drumming became less manic and more propulsive. Kirk Hammet’s guitar playing less frenzied and more tasty. Jason Newsted’s bass less wild and more supportive. The Mighty Met still rocked hard, just in new ways.
People didn’t know how to react. It’s human nature. We don’t adhere well to change and we just flat don’t like it. We like what we know and are creatures of habit. However, art (including music) is about pushing boundaries. Think of all the acts that have gone down as the greatest of all time in any genre. Nearly all of them that you can think of attained their status by doing something new, creative, different and groundbreaking for their time.
Which brings me back to Texas Music. We’ve been conditioned that Texas Music is supposed to sound and look a certain way. $500 jeans mixed with songs about highways and rivers. Pearl snaps and backwards Rangers hats (guilty!) . It all gets a bit boring, tiresome and monotonous after a while. With their latest record, it seems like the Randy Rogers Band agrees.
While the RRB is not breaking new ground like The Beatles in ’68 or Willie in ’75…they are attempting something new for themselves. Stretching beyond what’s become expected of them. Putting all the cards on the table and saying we’re making the music for us and if you want to come along for the ride great…if not, that’s okay too.
Trouble does not sound like your run of the mill Randy Rogers Band record, but that doesn’t make it bad…just different. For over a decade and 200 nights each year, those guys have hit the highways playing their brand of music to the masses. They’ve earned the right to experiment. You as a fan have the right to dig it or not. But, I’m just suggesting you give it an open listen and not be so quickly dismissive.
If I’d have tuned out of Load after I saw this:
I’d have never experienced this live:
So, don’t give up on this:
Because of this:
Open your minds. Open your ears. Be it RRB or whomever. Your favorite bands deserve that much. Just look at what they’ve gotten you through….this thing called life as Prince says.
-It’s LJT time again. You can certainly tell it’s spring/festival time when each weekend from now until August has something big going on. Bowen Classic and Greenfest are on our immediate horizon.
-If you can get out to Stephenville this Friday for our LJT pregame show at City Limits, please do. It’s going to be a unique show after Adam Hood’s first Billy Bob’s show brings him to Erath County with Texas blues/funk/r&b legend Tony Calhoun on bass guitar. A truly out of the box show in a sea of sameness.
-Horrifying tragedy in Boston. We will persevere. The most poignant I’ve seen written about it comes from Patton Oswalt of all people. Look for the good people.
-Was a tad concerned about the Rangers prior to the season starting, but their small ball Wash ball has been exciting to watch. Now to keep it up for 150ish more games. Wish I was at Wrigley this week!
-Kudos to Justin Frazzel on his great success with Puttin’ for Preemies. I’ve personally seen the impact Cook Children’s Hospital has on families and the work he is doing for them and MDA is tireless and needed.
-More golf talk. If I could just get the Augusta grounds crew to come tend to my yard for a week or so…that’d be fantastic. And, I better swing the sticks a bit before the aforementioned Bowen Classic on June 2-3. It’s hard work being mediocre on the links.
–This month’s recommended album: Javi Garcia-The Great Controversy. Talk about pushing the boundaries…this record is like a kick in the teeth I didn’t even know I needed or wanted. A punk rock attitude mixed with honky-tonk and drenched in the best heartland rock style stuff Springsteen has ever done. High praise, great album. Check it out.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”-Mark Twain