Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bakersfield and Beyond...

I've always had a somewhat eclectic taste in music. However, country was never really one of those tastes. Oh sure, there were the classics like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Sr. But I never really got into it deeper that those. So it shocked me as much as anyone that I found myself listening to country music. Not just any country because "country" as a genre has far reaching tentacles. I found myself leaning to some of the newer alt-country artists such as Jay Farrar and his bands Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo. The Knitters were an obvious choice as well as they were born from the band X and Dave Alvin from The Blasters - all of which I listened to a lot during the 80's.

During January and February, my friend Amanda asked me if I would help her cover a bluegrass show on KWMR. The host of the show was out of town and needed someone to cover for him. We played some bluegrass, some alt-country and then we played Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers from Seattle. While reading the back of this promo CD, it said something like "if you like Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers, you'll like The Blasters, X, Dave Alvin....all part of the Bakersfield Sound." We looked at each other and said "The Bakersfield Sound?" That's when Bam-Bam called in and said, "Yeah, The Bakersfield Sound! Play some Dwight Yoakam!"

We had one last show to cover and decided to dedicate it to The Bakersfiled Sound. We did some research and found that, yes indeed, there really is a Bakersfield Sound that was a response to the slick offerings that Nashville had to offer in the late '50's. So some musicians plugged in their Fender Telecasters and started a rockin' country sound that was influenced by the rockabilly, rock & roll, and the border music. Buck Owens popularized the sound and it took off. Dwight Yoakam brought into more of the mainstream in the 80's and it's reach continued to be far reaching. The amount of artists that we recognized who are influenced by The Bakersfield Sound is far reaching.

With that one last show we did, we got several calls in the studio from folks saying they were digging what we were playing. We jokingly said to each other that the host of the show we were covering for was going to have to wrestle us to get his show back. We didn't need to go that far because the next week, we got an e-mail saying that if we wanted it, the time slot was ours. This wasn't just any time slot, this was a prime time slot, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. every other Thursday.

We jumped at the opportunity and beginning two days from now, March 19, at 6:30, the debut of Bakersfield and Beyond airs during KWMR's pledge drive. So, if anyone wants to listen here locally 90.5 or 89.9 in Bolinas or stream on the web at kwmr.org, tune us in. We'll play some great music and we will have a special guest calling in who live in Bakersfield and works hard to keep the music alive in Bakersfield. If you like what you hear, call in with a pledge (415-663-8273) as KWMR is a non-commercial, community owned radio station and needs listeners to pledge money to keep great commercial-free radio playing.

(What's playing: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles Tears of a Clown)


Head Honcho said...

Nice Mike! I'll listen in from Wisconsin!

There sure are parts of country that have a deep appeal. Probably deeper than some of the rock'n punk I listened to in the 80's and 90's.

Guitar Ted said...

Mike, that's awesome. I can totally identify with the Bakersfield Sound, cause I was raised on Buc Owens music as a kid. Dave Alvin and the Blasters were a favorite of mine, and Dwight Yoakim's "Guitars and Cadillacs" was often interspersed intomy hard rock/heavy metal play list which always drove my friends bonkers.

But lately I have been looking into The Drive By Truckers and digging that sort of thing too.

Anyway, I found out about the show too late for tonight, but I'll check back next week. Thanks!

blackmountaincycles said...

Cool, thanks. It's every other week, thought. Next show is April 2.