May 2018: Changing Minds

I’ve written many times about the role certain people had in shaping my musical taste.  Parents, sister, friends, acquaintances.  As a father, I’m currently trying to combat the inundation of societal Imagine Dragons type musical norms on my children with heaping doses of Shinyribs, Willie Nelson and Beatles. Their palette is wide and varied, but they still mainly like whatever is popular among their peers.  As most of us do.  In the hyper-connected world in which they’re living the monoculture drives global branding over local melodies.  It was different back in the day.  I could only know what was immediate to me.  Sister, parents, friends etc.  Now, kids have that direct network and a vast world of “friends” via mobile devices that they can lean on, discover and share music with.

We are all constantly seeking arbiters of cool.  Seeking affirmation and confirmation of that what we’re digging has validation in the eyes and ears of others. At some point, those of us into this kind of music transition from caring what others think to just enjoying it on our own terms.  I fought the fight for years of playing things like Randy Rogers Band and Turnpike for friends and family who loved Luke Bryan and Toby Keith.  They didn’t like it.  It used to frustrate me.  No longer.  Now, it’s a bade of honor.  Liking this music is akin to being part of a secret club.  To gain membership you just have to raise your standards and lower your hits. Becoming more discerning and wanting more from your music.  Not everyone wants that.  That used to bother me, it bothers me no longer.

There used to be the thinking…”if they could just see Stoney sing once…” or “If they’d go see a Wade Bowen show they’d get it…” etc.  And while sometimes that proved to be true…more often than not, th0se folks not ingrained to love this music just didn’t care.  If it wasn’t on the radio and deemed worthy by the iHeart gods it didn’t exist to them.  The validation they need is a spot on one of the umpteen country awards shows and song that gets played twice an hour before becoming part of an off brand tequila ad campaign.  Be it politics, religion or sports…humans stubbornly draw their battle lines and are very rarely unencumbered enough to adjust them.  It takes the right song, band, moment…person.

I’d have probably found my way to Robert Earl Keen back in the day by osmosis, but it happened deliberately when a friend of mine ended up with a busted cassette tape that had “Road Goes on Forever” on it and I was hooked.  That led me down the road I ended up at today.  Digging REK in a world of Garth takes a bit of a contrarian nature.  It’s a badge of honor. “Oh, you don’t know about REK? Well,….”I’ve had countless, similar conversations and interactions over the years regarding bands dating back to the Pat Green days all the way up to the current Koe Wetzel days. I used to force it, now I just let the music do the talking.  It says it better than I ever could. If people are meant to truly hear it, they will.  Nothing else needs to be said.


-River Jam.  New Braunfels. July 27-29. Do it.

-Worst stretch of DFW sports I can recall.  All across the board.  I watched  the entirety of All or Nothing in the span of like 12 hours.  It was depressing all over again.

-LeBron needs to find Jason Witten’s hair guy.

-I’m not sure why they stopped making cool westerns, but I do know that Tombstone and Lonesome Dove are two of my favorite films of all time and I’ll stop down anytime I come across them.  I’ve seen each of them dozens of times.  One summer during college, we screened Tombstone each day for an entire summer. Westerns are dead…but if they’re done right, there’s nothing cooler.

-Perhaps if they made Doc Holliday have superhero powers Hollywood would bankroll it.

-All commencement speakers should keep it under 10 minutes. Tops.

-It’s Laurel.

-What are there more of: Americana bands or podcasts?

-This month’s recommended album:  Leon Bridges – Good Thing.  Picking up where he left off with Coming Home three years ago, Bridges toils in the 60’s throwback vein with flourishes of country, soul, blues that are unmatched.  This is the soundtrack to your summer, be it 2018 or 1968.

-“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

32 thoughts on “May 2018: Changing Minds

  • May 16, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Good read as always, but are you sure it was so different back in our day as kids? I was into jam bands (because I played guitar and was weird), but most kids listened to what they saw on MTV. Just a different, digitally driven monoculture now.

    Also, if you don’t want your kids to listen to Imagine Dragons, maybe you should tell them you are a huge Imagine Dragons fan. Reverse psychology 🙂

  • May 16, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Wait…what if my kids like Turnpike AND Imagine Dragons? What if they sing Drew Kennedy’s “Cream and Sugar” then bust out in “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars?

    You’re right though. Most folks are just close-minded and don’t want to learn about anything new.

    PS-Imagine Dragons is my guilty pleasure.

  • June 4, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I’m a college class short of having a film studies minor and I always thought the same thing in film- if someone just would just sit down and immerse themselves into some of the all-time classics, they’d be disappointed in some of the more popular fluff. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that some folks just want the fluff. And sometimes the fluff is good. Sometimes, it’s really good. But all the while, it gives me a sense of pride that I can acknowledge and appreciate the difference. Music is no different.

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