|"REAL COUNTRY MUSIC"
After years of trying to keep up with the latest trends in country music, as a disc jockey, music director in your typical small town, and as a weekend country band singer/guitar slinger, I was getting very frustrated with the direction country music had gone. Born in Pulaski TN with lots of local roots in Nashville, I had unknowingly been infused with the hard country tradition as a youngster growing up and although I, like many teens, drifted away to rock and roll, I had come back around to country just as the traditional resurgence led by Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis, George Strait and the rest of the early to mid 80's new traditionalists took hold. Then along comes new country and for a while I thoroughly enjoyed much of the music that melded great roots rock with country and produced a popular resurgence of country music, making my radio life a good one as ratings climbed and everyone loved what we did. Around 1996 there was a definite swing towards a more pop oriented, female directed "soccer mom" style of country that can only be described by this man as smaltzy, and I was ready to bolt! The along came Jones.....well actually, a guy named Dale Watson. I was watching Prime Time Country and they were using different guests hosts each week and Dale, who had signed to Curb only to be hung out to dry, was on the show the night John Schneider hosted. Dale did his tune, Real Country Song, just a straight up, hard core country tune lamenting the loss of Real Country, walked over to the interview couch and the first words out of John's mouth were, "well, what kind of music do you call that?". It was then and there that I knew there was, somewhere a music scene still rooted in tradition and the next day I tracked down Dale Watson's CD, got it at the station a week later, played Real Country Song a couple of times and from that point on, not only was the song the most requested tune for 26 straight weeks, it also led me back to the performing arena I know and love, to which this very day I am true, playing Real Country any and everywhere they'll let me bring the band and preparing to release my first solo project of hard country tunes. Folks, there is a hard country scene happening, mostly based in Austin, TX, much of which can be heard on www.TwangCast.com and if you like your country real, then don't let it die, support it with your purchases, attend the shows and most of all, take the moral of this story to heart, follow your instincts and remember, all things happen for a reason, just as Dale was there to lead me back into the music I knew and loved, whatever it is in life you desire, it is there, right before your eyes, if you'll just open them and let them see.
Written By: Mike Hays