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Friday BBQ Spotify 4/5/13

No Comments5 April 7:09


There’s probably some of you out there who think I’m not a fan of country music, since I haven’t exactly focused on it much in these Friday escapades of ours. Truth be told, I love country music and every variant of it – country western, western swing, bluegrass, rockabilly, you name it. I’m just not a fan of the repetitive syrupy and pseudo-rock stuff you hear on mainstream radio most days, but then, I could say that about most every musical genre out there. So, we’re gonna take a little turn towards the countryside today, but just a little off the beaten path. As we move into spring, I think about my late parents a lot, because on a spring day like this, my Mom liked to get in the car and go searching for Texas bluebonnets on the side of the road, all the while listening to her country favorites on CD, tape or the car radio. (She’s been gone since 1986, so the delivery methods were a little different back then.)


My Mom would have loved the Internet, especially when it comes to music. I’m sure by now she would have had me set up her Mac, iPad or iPhone (even back in the 1980′s she liked Apple’s computers better than the others; kinda like her son) with everything from Spotify to Pandora to iHeart Radio, so she could hear everything she loved and all her favorite radio stations wherever she was. Like her son, she had a lot of different music tastes for her generation. As a result, she liked to be surprised by music that was unusual to her, and I’m sure she would have regularly trolled the online services and when she would hear something new online that she liked, I would have most likely heard a regular refrain of “Download that one for me please, honey. Now, make sure they get paid sweetheart. They deserve to be paid for that.” She wouldn’t have appreciated this generation’s online music piracy phenomenon. There were different times throughout her life when things were extremely lean for her, but she wouldn’t have been able to imagine not paying for what she needed from Patsy Cline or her beloved Sam Cooke. I’m at least glad for the advertising-supported models like that of Spotify, so compensation can reach the artist one way or the other. I like to think that she would have felt the same.



This list is anchored on both ends by two versions of the same beautiful song – Lie Awake – written by Nashville’s Angel Snow. The first is a cover of it by country/bluegrass titans Alison Krauss and Union Station. Alison is one of those singers whose voice is so beautiful and unusual that I instantly think of her as perfect for my funeral, or even better, at the birth of a baby. And although she regularly writes her own music, she believes in tooting the horn of the artists who sometime write the music for her to sing, as she did this week for Angel. It’s interesting to listen to the subtle differences in each version of the song. And long before he was pissing people off on The Apprentice, Clint Black was a rising country artist who had made his first trip across the pond to England in 1990 after his country newcomer awards, and he and his band played in a small London pub to me, my soon-to-be-wife, and a couple hundred other lucky Londoners. A night of chatting with a fellow Houstonian halfway across the world who was lighting the world on fire, combined with a bunch of British women screaming in my ear “He’s looking at ME!” or “He’s singing to ME!,” and followed by chasing my beloved war-whooping it down the back streets of London after he signed her phonebook is a memory we’ll both cherish forever. The rest are an assortment of my country favorites, both old and new. So enjoy these country selections that you won’t hear much on the radio, even Internet radio. Every once in a while, it does a body and mind good to be surprised a little. And whichever way you can, compensate the talented artist that brought that song to your ears. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.


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Mark is the Business Manager and resident “Smokologist” for Tex Howard’s Pit-Smoked Bar-B-Que. He loves his girls, the San Francisco Giants, the great states of California, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, and any food that’s been smoked.

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