Music Monday: RIP Hal Ketchum

2020 has been a year, ain’t it?

Hal Ketchum died on the 23rd. I never dug into Ketchum’s backlist, so don’t expect any deep album cuts, but as a small town boy, his 1991 hit Small Town Saturday Night meant a lot to me. Still does, especially since I just returned home.

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Music Monday: RIP Mac Davis

Whelp. It is 2020 and the hits just keep on coming. Davis died last week after heart surgery and will be laid to rest today.

Not that I am a fan with a deep and broad knowledge of Mac Davis’ body of work. Outside of It’s Hard to be Humble (which I didn’t realize was his song until many, many years after discovering it), my Mac Davis fandom starts and ends with Texas in my Rear View Mirror.

But Texas in my Rear View Mirror is one of the most finely crafted country songs ever written, so it’ll go a long way. (I do still need to watch North Dallas Forty.)

There are worse places to spend three hours on the side of the road than Lubbock, Texas
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Music Monday: RIP Joe Diffie

Whelp, we just had our first country music COVID-19-related fatality.  Joe Diffie, 61, died yesterday of complications related to COVID-19.  (And John Prine is in the hospital in critical condition.  Ugh.)  People who don’t know who Joe Diffie is (what kind of asshole brags about not knowing who someone is, let alone after they die?) missed an artist who kind of epitomized 90s country.

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Music Monday: God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

The American calendar is full of opportunities to express your patriotism and/or buy a mattress: Flag Day, Lee-Jackson Day, Patriot’s Day[1], Purple Heart Day, Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (part of Constitution Week), National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Gold Star Mother’s Day, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Bill of Rights Day Veterans Day, Memorial Day . . . but the granddaddy of them all is Independence Day.  Our forebears risked life and limb to fight for our freedoms; on Independence Day we risk life and limb to shoot explosives into the air to make pretty night-flowers.  We celebrate in time-honored ways: going to the lake, grilling out, beer drinking, lawnmower races. . .

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Music Monday: Dirt Road Anthem by Artist of the Decade Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean will be named artist of the decade at the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 7.  It is hard to get excited about the announcement.  Not because there are better options out there, but because there . . . really aren’t.  Alabama or George Strait he ain’t, but who else deserves the award?  Aldean may have played a role in hick hop and bro-country going mainstream.  But I wouldn’t blame him here for spawning imitators any more than I would blame Tolkien over at the other site for spawning imitators.

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Music Monday: Garth Brooks and Chris LeDoux

While I was in Texas over Christmas I caught the recording of Garth’s live show in South Bend.  Garth Brooks is, if anything, a showman.  What a lot of people don’t know is that he crafted his early shows by mimicking Chris LeDoux.  Not many artists could get away with it, but Garth shares an enormous stage presence and magnetism with LeDoux.  It was a symbiotic relationship—Garth helped propel LeDoux’s career past the rodeo circuit.

I’ve never seen Garth in concert.  But I did get to see LeDoux in concert before his untimely death, and it was everything a country music fan could ask for.

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