So I’m a DJ now. Started a DJ gig at the Aristocrat Lounge: Strange Country. Yeah, yeah, DJing takes lots of talent, but it seems like there are a million soul DJ nights going on in town, and I wanted to do something different. I chose the name Strange Country not because I’d be playing novelty records all night, but in honor of Billy Strange, session guitar player extraordinaire who played on the coolest Lee Hazlewood albums, and a million others from country and western to pop to rock n’ roll.
Calling it Strange Country would also maybe help to signal that I wasn’t going to be playing I Walk The Line. We all love Johnny Cash, but let’s be real – Johnny Cash is to country music as Bob Marley is to reggae at this point.
But like Johnny Cash, Billy Strange was a cool dude. Anybody who played on These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ would pretty much have to be. He was a serious hepcat, and he also played country music. A lot of people don’t seem to know that country music can be cool, too. Or at least, it used to be.
I’ve accumulated a lot of country and western records over the years, and this was easy, because most people didn’t want them. If you read the interview I did with Walter Daniels from a few posts back, we both talked about our days working in record stores, how country music wasn’t appreciated by many in the indie rock and punk rock world.
My alienation served me well, however, because I’ve been able to pick up lots of country records cheaply since the Sonic Youth fans were too square to know what they were missing. If you are reading this, I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, but if there’s one thing I’ve found from writing shit on the internet, it’s that all kinds of crazy people might end up reading it. Hey, this might be news to some of them, if not you!
Today we are in the middle of a “vinyl resurgence,” but country records still don’t have the cachet of something with “northern soul” or “popcorn” in the ebay description. That’s fine with me. Even while the price of vinyl in other genres gets ridiculous, most country records are still inexpensive. Perhaps that is because country music has a bit of an image problem. Why might that be?
We’ll examine it in excruciating detail after the jump! Continue reading