El Paso Music Scene

This Is Texas, Isn't It?

In many parts of the world, and within our own country, the state of Texas is synonymous with cowboys. The simple mention of Texas conjures up stereotypes like wearing chaps, chewing on straw, spitting in spittoons and riding bulls. Another ornament is obvious. Around the campfire, the cowboy is pictured eating beans and singing trail songs with an acoustic guitar. We live in El Paso. The last time I checked this city was in the enormous state of Texas. WHERE IS ALL THE FREAKING ORIGINAL COUNTRY MUSIC?

I can't even think of any hometown shit kickers. Where is El Paso's Merle Haggard? Where are the bandits, the gamblers, the whiskey lords? We need a band with these stereotypes to run free in this town. El Paso has a rich history of catering to many a country folk including Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Juarez is infamous for its boozing and whorehouses, thanks to Dylan (not a bad rap for business, I guess). El Paso is known for its detention facilities. Where is all the rolling in the hay? Where is the cotton-eyed debauchery? Oh yeah, there has been plenty of clean country rolling through too. Where are El Paso's home-grown country acts?

We all know our favorite cowboy! Mr. Hurley might be hinting at something big.

I was so glad to see SLEEPERCAR at the T-lounge a while back. Sleepercar is a side project of El Paso's own Jim Ward. The country elements of strumming guitars and pedal steel only graced Jim's sound. The twang and drunken notes only added to the songwriting that we all know. Chris "Heine" was like a magician on the pedal steel luring many a "rocker" into another world. Other than that night, I don't see much country influence in town. There are a few people that have that country essence, but we need a bunch more. Who is our closest country star? Some may say a push in this genre is a good thing. I know many of y'all find the lack of country a true blessing.

Yeah, country (in my opinion) took a huge dive in the late 80s and early 90s. Now, rock/country bands are polluting the radio waves with half-hearted anthems and the fake blues of the wealthy. I personally cannot stand these groups that sound like southern rock re-hash party bands. I love the old stuff. The Honky Tonk. I need the rugged no-bull country sound. I love Beck's "country" stuff too. I want my country to bleed. Bleeding Country, a new manifesto for country. No bull. Step in what?

Hell, you say! We need real country in this town, or am I totally mistaken? It is in our local veins. As much as some of us would love to shake it, country music has had a firm grip on Texas for a long time now. It is time that the locals embrace the sounds that define the genre. I can't wait to see the "Guys that like to Wear Girls Pants" sporting cowboy hats and tuning their pedal steels to a ninth. I can see them strapping on their leather clad telecasters and chewing tobacco behind their wailing vocals. All jokes aside, where is the country?

Nicholas Matta Moscas
Aux.78 / ElectroLegs
njmatta@hotmail.com

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