January 2006

Brad’s Corner is a monthly commentary written by Brad about whatever he feels like. It’s supposed to be funny, interesting and thought provoking, but most geniuses are misunderstood. Check out the January 2006 edition of Brad’s Corner and see what’s on his mind.

As the New Year dawn’s, I find myself asking a big question about the musical landscape we trek though daily. In our cars, if we forget to put in a cd or haven’t shelled out the cash for satellite radio yet, we are subjected to songs about Mr. Mom and Honky Tonk Padunkadunks. Johnny and Waylon are more pissed off now than they were years ago. Thank God they’re in heaven making music together and not having to bear witness to this mess. But, that’s just my question. As crazy and bad as those of us in this community and scene think that music is, so many more people think it’s fantastic. I see them everyday. They are our neighbors, the guy with the Trophy Buckhunter sticker on his truck at the gas station, the lady checking us out at the convenience store and every other facet of society you can imagine. SOMEBODY is buying Rascal Flatts concert tickets. SOMEBODY is requesting SheDaisy songs. I guess I truly did see the world through rose-colored glasses, (and not talking about John Conlee) to think that people could see through the crap music and find the good in what we have going on down here. I used to be convinced that if the masses were just exposed to our kind of music they’d embrace it and our guys would skyrocket to fame and acclaim. However, as that has started to happen to a degree with guys like Pat, Ragweed, Jack and the Randy Rogers Band, I’m concerned that the breakthrough will never take place. The listening audience as a whole is too ignorant and set in their ways. I’m an admitted music snob but I don’t think asking people not to dig Big and Rich is asking too much. Toby Keith used to be one of our scene’s big whipping boys. Everyone talked smack, made fun etc. But, recently I came to the realization that he truly does get it. I’m sure that he puts out material like “I Love This Bar” to fund the projects close to his heart like launching Scotty Emerick and placing Jack Ingram on his label for mass consumption. I bet ol Toby has a big ol bag of tunes stowed away that would knock our socks off. Yet, he plays the game, puts out the stuff “they” want him to and holds the good stuff back for himself. So, is there a solution?

I often joked that I wish they’d put me in charge in Nashville just for a short time. In addition, I’ve always maintained that the first step in overtaking the machine and changing consumer’s minds is Stoney LaRue. I contest to you that if Stoney is put on national tv for as little as 6 minutes on a show like the CMA’s he could sound the first drum to change the guard of country music as a whole. The man charms whatever audience he is in front of on a nightly basis; why not expand that reach? I’ve seen him make people laugh and cry all in performing the same song! I contend that one performance from a truly gifted musician could turn the tide. Imagine, Middle America, hearing him do one of his own tunes and then cover “Long Black Veil”. I may be naïve, but I truly expect that the next morning they’d be at Wal Mart looking for that Rocky LaRue fellow’s music. If one was to follow that up with full band exposures to Randy Rogers Band and Wade Bowen’s group and throw in a little Hayes Carll (who is a thinking man’s Tom T Hall) then we might stand a chance at winning.

I realize that musical taste is subjective. But even with subjectivity, one should be able to detect and deflect crap. Help us keep pushing for the gold standard of great music from Texas, Oklahoma and beyond. The world could use it, and our guys can’t sustain playing for the door for 25 more years! In February of this year, many of our favorite bands will be traveling to Nashville for the annual Country Radio Seminar. For the uninitiated it’s a big ass kissing fest where labels try to get program directors and dj’s to play their bands. Hopefully, our guys will be able to cut through all the b.s. and truly be heard. But the question remains…will it be enough?

Minor chords:

-Greenfest ’06 is shaping up to be the best one yet. And that’s not just the company line. I had a big hand in choosing the line up and feel like it’s as strong as any I’ve seen in a long time. As I said in the press release, I feel like it’s indicative of where Texas/Red Dirt is going, not where’s it’s at or where it’s been. Ryan James, Josh Grider, Drew Kennedy, Ashlee Rose, Ryan Turner, Mike Mancy, Mike McClure and Brandon Rhyder represents all stages and levels of a career. Teenager to legend, we’ve got it covered and I hope you all plan on joining us.

-I hope this article finds you in the midst of that wanderlust that occurs between Christmas and New Years where we all do nothing but be lazy, drink too much and hang out with our friends and family. Going to church with a hangover can be fun. Just keep your fingers crossed that you’ll be having communion. That cracker or bread can sustain you really good until you get to IHOP.

-The 2006 Larry Joe Taylor Festival countdown has begun. Camping reservations begin this month. It’s going to be another insane time. Make your plans now, kick yourself later.

-Lots of good music will be coming out this year: Randy Rogers Band’s first national release…it will be washing the road out of our souls in approximately 3 months. Drew Kennedy has a huge new project coming out. He’s got a top-notch producer and a slew of songs that will establish him as a force to be reckoned with. Jack’s first record for Toby’s label is on the way very soon. We should finally get to hear Wade’s new disc after the long wait. It’s a good year to be around this music. Fasten your seat belts now.

-This month’s recommended movie is: Great Balls of Fire. For those of you who ran out and loved Walk the Line, check out a less serious character study of Jerry Lee Lewis. While Dennis Quaid nails “The Killer”, the screenplay gets bogged down in caricatures and the storyline of him marrying his young cousin. There is so much more to this great American treasure that they should probably do a re-make and take it a little more seriously. This is still a fun flick though.

-This month’s recommended cd is: James McMurtry “Childish Things” If you dig stuff like Hayes Carll, Adam Carroll and Mike McClure. Get this ASAP!

-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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