they used to was country music

i kinda go through these different periods of study where i get on something and read and watch and listen as much as i can. that’s ONE good thing a person can say about all the computer hooraw and so forth. the average working person has access to books and music heretofore unavailable. the database of ALL that exists. {in a sense every guitarist/instrumentalist you see should be a flaming badass because there’s more free lessons available on the ‘net than you can shake a stick at. by the Masters.} therefore, it’s possible to study the best stuff like crazy.

so this one fellow i want to talk about is buck trent. first off, used to, before the bands had drums, they had this as a typical lineup: {country music} non-pedal steel, fiddle, electric guitar, upright bass, and the singer played acoustic guitar. and in dudes like hank snow’s case, some could pick the heck out of a solo on acoustic guitar adding another voice. if you haven’t spent a few years on this groove, i’d get with it. 

buck was the soloist on so much of porter wagoner’s stuff and was his musical sidekick. so many of porter’s hits were built around and/or featured buck trent’s really strange and hep playing. if you don’t know this guy, you best get hep. 

buck was a banjo player and electric guitar player, and he came up with this wacky thing that was built on a banjo frame. he took a sheet of plywood and put that on there in place of yon head. this allowed him to mount pickups in there like a ‘lectric guitar. he had some bending levers installed and scruggs tuners on every string {on the four at the headstock anyway}. he played drenched in reverb and would use either a scruggs tuner or one of the bendy pedal things to access every note he could, rather than just “play” said note. in other words, if he could bend INTO it, he would do that, rather than just pick it. so every line had this twisty snaky weird scene. notes could be mechanically accessed in sort of an arbitrary way. like generated music or something. 

the result was some really far out music. the thing that freaks me out is, this sound was on top ten big country hits, one right after another for many years. imagine a man playing a hybrid instrument that he had invented and built with some friends in a very experimental way and played in a very experimental way, on top ten country records today! 

if you don’t know about country music, you might want to go find some. porter and buck is a real good place to start. they used to come on the tv when i was a little boy, i think it was every day at 5am i would watch before i went to school. these characters were like biblical figures to me and they spoke of a world much happier and awesome than my real life and i adored them. 

my brother and i were discussing that from our birth till the time we was about 10 or 12 years old, pretty much ALL we heard was killer classic country. {it wasn’t classic at the time it was new!} every little farming town had a station that played the finest stuff. every restaurant had it on the jukebox. people went out to hear folks play. it was everywhere. it was kind of a religion. folks bought records. that’s where i got the idea that playing an instrument as good as you could, was a noble effort. and that being a musician was the best job one could have. and that music was really the greatest thing about life. and that these amazing musicians that had come before had made something truly great. this aesthetic i’ve maintained into my 56th year. 

one of the things i appreciate about actual country music is that it came from working folks [poor] and was FOR them. punk rock bluegrass blues gospel, so many of the forms was a bit of a salve or balm to the folks that worked hard. today that voice has all but disappeared. it’s sort of perceived as shameful nowadays when folks have hard times or need some help or fall between the cracks and so forth. the typical person is either rich, pretending to be rich or dying to be rich. this ethos is reflected in video games where you kill other players for resources and what not. {there is a very interesting book called the one-dimensional man by herbert marcuse.}

fortunately i’ve collected much of this stuff, and i was there and i can remember what it was like. i’m not sure if it’s just my frame of reference but that old stuff makes me happy and i suspect it was engineered for this outcome. used to, each network had an orchestra. 

i went and saw buck at branson at his showplace there with my friend mike bub a few years ago and buck sounded killer. 

hank snow has a very interesting solo guitar record and all the buck owens/don rich music is stellar. roger miller. i grew up with that as “mainstream.” a lot of the songs were around two minutes long. perfect little novels. thumbs carllile. 


music is good!