January 2018: Spectrum

As Steamboat wraps up for another year, we are on the cusp of another year of Texas Music pandemonium…or something.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Watching the events of MusicFest unfold from Texas I was reminded of the old Mike McClure lyric from The Great Divide’s “Yesterday Road”.

Now the only thing
Around here’s changed
Is that those kids
They’ve all got different names
And the ones that used to hang around
Got a heavy work load
But their mind still goes drifting
Down Yesterday Road

The names change from Pat and Cory to Parker and Koe…but the beat goes on.  The kids raising hell on the mountain are a fresh crop replacing the ones that are now holding down heavy work loads. Dickson rolls out the most seamless and all-encompassing musical experience from this scene each year with the core group of musicians and a rotating support cast.  It speaks to the wisdom of Dickson…and it speaks to the loyalty of the fans of this music.  Getting to MusicFest isn’t easy or cheap.  You must want to get there, which makes those who make the trek that much more involved in the music once they arrive.  This is bucket list stuff they get to live each January. Dozens and dozens of their favorite artists all in one place.

Faces change, memories don’t.

Kids are doing the same thing they’ve always done.  Following the music they love with a reckless abandon.  The wily veterans content to sit back and have an extra water (or IV) or two; yet they all believe in the same thing.  This cross-generational draw is unique to our music.

Punk and metal fans are loyal, but at some point they abandon the head banging and cling to that which falls in their wheelhouse.  Hip-hop tastes generally stay in the rearview mirror.  But, country music stays with you.  Especially the raw, regional form we enjoy around here.  Does someone my age still drink Lone Star Bear in their cereal with Pat Green or have Koe Wetzel drive them to Taco Bell after a night of drinking?  No, but we once did and travel back there with each listen.  As we age, we gravitate to the more thoughtful, introspective side of this scene.  But, we never forget our roots.

Those roots being dancehalls, sawdust, beer joins, cold longnecks, backroads, empty cans, first dances, last kisses…you get the gist…but all with a regional twist.  When Koe Wetzel sings about the circumference of this damned ol’ town…he’s talking about our town.  Whereas when Luke Bryan sings about going to the river river to catch some catfish dinner, that’s a place we’ve actually been to and know he hasn’t.  He’s not catching catfish and no woman has ever wanted to get dressed up to go critter crawling next to a river before spending the night on a tailgate.  It’s not real.  But, a bleary eyed trip around town with a rowdy group of friends, neerdowells and hangers on…we’ve done that.  Some are still doing that.

Each Steamboat serves as a reminder of this.  It’s a demarcation.  A line in the sand.  A reaffirmation of what we believe in anew.  Each year transitions happen.  Bands fade, bands arrive and some remain.  Fans fade, fans arrive and fans remain.  Nobody ever leaves the show completely…it’s just varied degrees of passion and involvement.  Are you engaged?  Are you entertained?  Are you feeling it?  This goes for bands and fans alike.

A ski resort in the mountains reveals a lot.


-Super, SUPER stoked for the inaugural Mile 0 Fest in Key West.  KW is a bucket list place for me and I’m excited to kick it over with my favorite music and people.  Planning to live like Buffett and Hemingway for a few days.  We’re going to be Galleywintering all over the place with interviews, photos, podcasts and the like.

-Speaking of pods, our official Podcast, The Co-Write, is back and raring to go for 2018 with new episodes.  One with Brandon Rhyder was released yesterday.  Dig in.

-This football season seemed to go by in a blur, no?

-Took my on to a Mavs-Warriors game over Christmas break. The crowd was split nearly 50-50.  In Dallas.  There was a decided ageist twist on things too.  Seemingly, anyone under the age of 25 was all Splash City.  Even in my day, when Jordan ruled and the Mavs were dreadful…I never wavered in my support of Popeye Jones and company.  Sad reality to see.  My son is all DFW for the other major sports…but Steph is just too cool to resist.

-This has been the bleariest, coldest winter I can recall.  Science may not back me up, but anecdotes will.  And honestly, aren’t anecdotes >> science.

-So, I got the flu over the break.  Or, at least I’m pretty sure I did.  Started feeling bad, went to urgent care…got the flu test…it was negative.  But my symptoms remained consistent with influenza.  Sent home with instructions and a follow-up appointment.  After 7 days of feeling awful, I finally started feeling better when the follow-up doc informed me “oh, those tests are only 40% accurate. You probably most definitely actually had the flu.”  Probably, most definitely actually….medicine.  See anecdotes>>science.

-River Jam 2018 plans are in motion.

-As anyone who has lost a parent can attest, there are days you still need them and talk to them.  I always talk to him…he’s there.

-This month’s recommended album:  Two years after the husband-wife duo Shovels & Rope bestowed Volume 1 and it’s inescapably cool Neil Young cover with Shakey Graves on the world, they are back with another covers collection Busted Jukebox: Volume 2 featuring guests Rhett Miller, Brandi Carlisle, John Moreland, Hayes Carll, John Fullbright and more!  Much like the first volume, it’s an uneven group with some pairings not living up to the hype…but the gems make the whole batch worth checking out and judging for yourself.

-“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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