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Category Archives: Rock Music

It’s The Hardest Part

We lost a great American treasure a year and a half ago, in my opinion, when Tom Petty unexpectedly passed away. One of the great rockers of all-time, who grew up in Gainesville, FL, and was the victim of some pretty violent abuse at the hands of his dad. Music, as it turned out, was a welcome escape from that environment for him. His mom bought him a cheap Sears guitar when he was 14 and the rest, as they say, is history. His band, The Heartbreakers, accomplished what few other bands have ever achieved…and that is the fact that they stayed together, for the most part, for over 40 years! Some would argue that Petty lacked vocal perfection, but if you were fortunate enough to make one of his concerts (we did twice in the last 3 years!) you would hear the bigger part of twenty thousand people, young and old, singing along with every song…..word for word, for two and a half hours! So, Tom Petty fan or not, you’d have to admit that he’ll go down in history as one of the all time greats.

Now, I don’t think every song out there has a spiritual message, unless of course, you want it to. But most songs of any genre will have a line or two that, if you think about it…and try just a little, could definitely be applied in a spiritual way. I’m a ‘music guy’, not a musician by any stretch (I could only wish!), just someone who loves music. So, I hear in just about every song something that catches my attention, something that I can apply spiritually and maybe pass it along to someone else who can catch the truth contained. Many of Tom Petty’s songs have those things I’m talking about; “You Don’t Have To Live Like a Refugee” would definitely be one. Gonna write something up on that ‘un one of these days. And, how about, “I Won’t Back Down”? Now there’s a, nearly perfect, spiritual warfare song; one that you could actually sing on Sunday mornings if you’d loosen up just a little.

But one that recently caught my attention is a song called, “The Waiting”. Written over 37 years ago, and not designed to be a spiritual song, whatsoever, it does have a line or two that holds some pretty profound spiritual truths. “The waiting is the hardest part”! Boy, ain’t that the truth!? Learning to wait is one of the hardest things for both the natural, and the spiritual man. We live in a culture that has trained us to want everything immediately; I mean, ….right now! But, as we mature in the Lord, learning to wait is an invaluable trait…and one that’s not often found even among believers, sad to say.

I wish I could say I had it perfected. But, waiting on the Lord hasn’t come easy for me. I guess you could call me a ‘slow learner’ in that respect. But I’m a lot better than I used to be…and I think I’m getting better. It comes with an understanding that God has His ways and He’s precise in His timing. In another way, it’s one of His ways of teaching us to live by faith. At any rate, waiting on the Lord is a virtue that we should all try to attain.

So, whether it’s a promise from Him you’re waiting on, or a prophetic word that has yet to materialize, or maybe even a prayer you’re wondering if He heard or not, ….waiting, as hard as it is, …..might just be the most productive thing you can do. Make no mistake about it, Tom Petty had it right; the waiting is the hardest part!

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part …………The Waiting’ – Tom Petty

...oh, and by the way, the Bible holds some amazing promises for us as we learn to wait. Isaiah 40:31 *(go read it!)

 

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Lady Gaga, Little Monsters & Jesus!

Lady Gaga’s getting a lot of attention, both good and bad, the last couple of days; This was first published two years ago. I had over 2100 views on this post, the most of any blog I’ve written to date. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you did read it….it’d do to read again. Thanks…..and “Share” it if you like it!

It’s been about three years since Julie and me, Cameron and one of her friends went to a Lady Gaga concert in Oklahoma City. On the way to the Chesapeake Center where the concert was to be held, there were picketers….Christian picketers…..a lot of them, displaying their signs and banners “, “Lady Gaga is the Devil”, “God hates fags”; “You’re going to hell!” …. you know the typical unconditional love stuff that we’re so known for!

An interesting thing that I did not know was that Lady Gaga’s loyal followers are known as “Little Monsters”. They dress up in some of the wildest, most bizarre costumes and get-ups that you could ever imagine. It’s like Halloween on steroids! I’ll have to admit, it was a little out of my comfort zone! But the show was unbelievable; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lady Gaga, whether you like her or not, is an extremely talented young woman. She can sing, she can dance, she can play the piano. She can do it all!

But there was a point three-quarter of the way into the show that I did NOT see coming! House lights out, she’s in the spotlight lying on the stage. She says, “Jesus, …. up there in heaven, …. all those people outside tell me you don’t love me…..but I know that’s not true! I know you love me, and I know you love all these “Little Monsters”, too!” And the bigger part of 20,000+ young people cheered as loud as they possibly could. I had a big lump in my throat; I could barely hold back my tears. And I wondered if anyone had ever told many of these “Little Monsters” that Jesus really does love them. Oh, I know they’ve been told they’re no good and that God’s mad at them. They’ve been reminded of that over and over again but you could tell that they so wanted her words to be true! And I think, somehow, they believed it.

If the Father can’t depend on the church to tell the ‘good news’, He’ll use Lady Gaga, or anyone else He chooses, to let all us “Little Monsters” know how much we’re really loved!

 

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“Long May You Run”

Neil Young is an interesting guy. I’ve always been a fan. He has one of the most unique and identifiable voices in music. There’s just no one before him…or after him, at least so far, that has that same unique sound. He’s a pretty fair guitar player, too. From what little I’ve read, and heard about him he might be a pretty eccentric, hard to get along with, kind of guy. One particular case in point. Touring with Stephen Stills in 1976 prior to their upcoming album release and after only nine dates, Neil sends Stills a telegram, “Dear  Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach”, signed Neil. Stills had no choice but to finish the tour without him. Doesn’t really affect me….I still like Neil Young.

One of Young’s songs, Long May You Run, (click now before you read the rest of the story to watch Crosby, Stills Nash & Young perform it) is one that I’m especially fond of. It really is a great song; great melody, great lyrics….and Neil’s stellar voice ices the cake. I like the title. It makes me think of a blessing of sorts that someone is declaring over someone they are friends with, or someone they admire. Just the title itself suggests long life, advancement, favor and success.

In this infancy of the New Year I’d like to speak that same blessing over you. I’ve been a huge proponent of encouraging people to fulfill their destiny. God has an incredible, and detailed, plan for your life. We’re not here by accident. We’re here on the planet as a direct order by the Father, Himself. “He has determined our preappointed times and the boundaries of our dwellings.” He wants a family of people on earth that represents Him correctly; a family that has His characteristics and displays the same heart toward people that He does. He can take a really ‘messed up’ life and turn it into something very significant.

So, this year as you head out. My prayer for you is that you’ll fulfill the plan of God over you, …. to the ‘T’! And as you encounter those obstacles, those roadblocks and those impossible lookin’ situations with your impeccable faith…….”Long May You Run”!

*Oh, …..the rest of the story; Young wrote that song about his first car, a 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse that he affectionately named, “Mort”, that died in 1965 when the transmission blew in Blind River, Ontario!  Who knew?! lol

These will help you get going in 2017 *(Read the whole series)………and “Share”,  pass the word!

Reflect – Refocus #2

Reflect & Refocus #12

Reflect & Refocus #20

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‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’

I don’t know too many people who don’t enjoy the soft rock sound of the Eagles. They’ve been a staple part of the American music scene since the 70’s. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the band now that Glenn Frey is gone. He and Don Henley had been together since the band’s inception but even Don said, “It’s Glenn’s band”. I can see one scenario that might work but it’s just speculation on my part. Jackson Browne, who was a very close personal friend of Glenn and Don, would be a near perfect fit if they were to ever decide to tour again. He’s not Glenn…..but he could do it.

I like about all the Eagles’ songs and it’d be hard for me to pick a favorite…but if I was pressured to do it I’d probably go with Hotel California. They’re gonna be playing that one long after all of us are gone. It’s a classic. ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ (do yourself a favor, click the link!) is another of their great songs. It was written by Jack Tempchin and was the third single released off their very first album all the way back in 1972.

I think we could all appreciate a ‘peaceful, easy feeling’ at about any point in our lives. It sometimes seems pretty elusive to find that ‘spot’ where we can just relax and appreciate where we are, what we have (whether it’s a little or a lot), …..and who we are. There are a number of things, at least for me, that contribute to having a peaceful easy feeling. For starters…the fact that God loves me with all my flaws puts my heart in a really, really peaceful place. If you know me you know I’m not a ‘pressure’ guy at all. I don’t think it works. But I’ll be the first to tell you that you’re never gonna have that peaceful feeling in your spirit until you’re connected relationally with the Father. Money won’t do it; fame will leave you unsatisfied. In fact, there’s just nothing that can take the place of knowing that God handpicked you to be His son or daughter. That’ll do it for ‘ya!

Beyond that, I’ve got a girl who I first remember seeing when I was about 12 or 13 years old, (prettiest one I’d ever seen! Still is!) who I’ve been married to nearly 40 years. I have 5 of the most incredible kids (another one, Cord, waitin’ on us in heaven!) you’ve ever seen….and 3 of the prettiest, most down-to-earth daughter-in-laws on the planet. And, don’t even get me started on my grandkids!! There’s 9 of ’em so far. They’re smart, handsome, talented and are gonna be some great contributors to the world. Oh, and I couldn’t forget that I’ve got some of the best friends a guy could ever ask for!

So, if you see me and I’ve got that ‘peaceful easy feeling’ look about me….now you know why!

Keep sharing ’em!

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

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The Sound of Silence

If you were around in the 60’s you’ll remember that song*(click here to listen) It was written by Paul Simon and recorded by him and Art Garfunkel, aka, Simon & Garfunkel. An interesting thing about the song is that the album it was originally released on in 1964 was a total flop and actually led to the breakup of the S&G duo. But the song, after hardly any airplay, began to pick up steam around Harvard University. The producer did a remix adding some electrical instrumentation and it ‘took off’!! The Sound of Silence hit #1 on the Billboard Charts in January of 1966! The duo immediately reunited and recorded their second album. You can still hear it on classic rock stations today. And just recently a group called Disturbed, released another version of the song.

Sound….of Silence; that’s kind of an oxymoron when you think about it. Silence actually has no sound, whatsoever. Silence is something we don’t experience much these days. On a personal note, Julie and I raised 5 kids, 4 boys, and a daughter. And, as you can imagine, there’s not much silence in a household like that. It was challenging, we loved it….but not much silence, if you know what I mean. And now with 9 incredible Grandkids….again, not much silence. We love the activity…and the noise that goes along with it! 

Most of us, when given the opportunity for silence, almost feel the need to turn on the TV, whether we’re watching it or not, just so we don’t have to deal with the deafening silence. But, we could be missing out if we’re not getting at least a little bit of silence now and then. If you think about it, embracing silence is one of those things we probably ought to consider. The clatter of everyday life has the potential of drowning out the, sometimes very quiet, voice of the Father. The Bible calls it, “the still, small voice”. God’s not limited to speaking to you in the silence….but the natural noisiness of life makes it a lot harder for you to hear.

Learn to ‘deal’ with the distractions, ‘make’ time for some silence….and hear what the voice of the Father is saying to you!

 

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Anyplace With You

It was just a couple of weeks ago. I had bought Julie tickets for a Barry Manilow concert. Now, not one thing against Barry Manilow….great songwriter, great artist…..and as it turns out….not a bad performer, either. But, he’s just not up at the top of my list of entertainers that I would pay much to see do a “live” performance. It was the day of the concert and one of the girls she had asked to go with her, couldn’t. Then she called another of her friends who couldn’t go, either. I desperately suggested another person or two. I may, or may not have, even prayed about it! *(okay, I did! “C’mon Lord….help a feller out!) So, then, my number came up! She text me and said, “Well, it looks like it’s you”! I text back, “You think I’ll be the only ‘guy’ there?” She replied, “Probably!”

We had a great drive up to OKC. I always enjoy Julie. But, surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the trip and even anticipating the evening ahead a lot more than I expected. I did, however, leave my ‘man card’ in the car for fear that they’d frisk me at the door and confiscate it from me. But, seriously, I had this thought, “You know, ….anywhere with Julie…..is better than anywhere else, without her.” I’m not trying to be ‘gushy’ but it’s really true when I think about it. Well, the concert was a lot better than I anticipated. I did actually enjoy it! *Keep that to yourself if you don’t mind!

I think I also learned a ‘spiritual lesson’ from that trip. When you step back and think about the bigger picture….it’s actually true in our relationship with the Father, too. It’s inevitable, we’re going to go through a lot of tough circumstances in life. No one’s immune. At this stage of life it seems like a ‘no-brainer’ to me; Given the choice, I’d easily choose to be going through the hardest thing in life than to be sitting in the ‘lap of luxury’ without Him!

“Anyplace (or any situation in life, no matter how hard,unpleasant or painful it might be) with Him……is better than any other place without Him!” 

 

Disclaimer: Now, for those wondering, …..I do have my limits. I did skip the Luke Bryan concert due to another self-scheduled root canal (same with Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line and a few others). I’m tellin’ ya’, it’s hard to get a dentist to do a root canal on a Saturday night,…especially on a tooth that doesn’t need it!

Check these out….and pass ’em along to your friends:

God Moves Through ‘Influence’ ……. Not ‘Control’!

There’s Just So Much of This Stuff in Life We’re Gonna Have to Learn the ‘Hard Way’!

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“Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”

“……….nothing remains quite the same….” That’s just part of the words to a song that’s been one of my faves for 30 + years. I don’t know if you like Jimmy Buffett or not….you should! If you don’t, let me know and I’ll pray for you ’cause there’s obviously something ‘fundamentally’ wrong with you! I’ve seen him in concert at least three times down through the years…..and I’ll do it again if I get the chance. I mean, what’s not to like about Jimmy Buffett??!!

But, seriously, it’s a really great song….and it has a pretty profound message to it, as well, if you’re willing to really listen. (you can click ‘here’ to listen to the whole song) It’s about taking a look back over our lives now and then and reflecting on where we’ve been, what we experienced, how we thought about certain things and how those things change over the years and the seasons of our lives. That kind of reflection can be a good thing.

I’ve had cause over the last month to do quite a bit of reflecting, myself. Even though there’s been some tears, I think for the most part it has been healthy. It’s evident to me that the whole Taylor family is transitioning into a new season. It has been a little rough at the get-go, but I predict it’ll be a great season of life for our big ‘ol Family. There’ll be plenty of challenges but as far as I can see the potential outweighs them by a mile.

It all amounts to some ‘changes in latitude and changes in attitude’; and just like Buffett sang, “nothing remains quite the same”. The attitude with which we choose to approach these seasons of life could make all the difference for us. And Jimmy addressed that too; “With all of our running and all of our cunning, If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” We oughta resolve to laugh a little more!

“Maybe you should take off for a weekend next month and try and recall the whole year.” You’ll find there’s been a lot of faces and places….and some may have even disappeared.

Make your next season a good one! ….and just consider that Jimmy Buffett might have really known what he was talking about when he said, “Yesterday’s over my shoulder, So I can’t look back for too long. There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me, and I know that I just can’t go wrong!”

You might like these, too:

You Can Live in the Past if You Want To…..But There Is a ‘Downside’

Keep Your Eyes On The Road!

You ‘Can’ Get There From Here!

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The Soundtrack of Our Lives

*(this blog was written a week ago, but not posted due to the passing of my Dad)

I was shocked today, and saddened, to hear of the untimely death of Glenn Frey, lead vocalist and founder of The Eagles. Glenn was a Detroit boy whose fate would cause him to cross paths with a talented Texas kid by the name of Don Henley. Those two and a handful of other great musicians and vocalists including, at one time or another, Timothy B. Schmidt, Joe Walsh, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Don Felder comprised the band known as The Eagles. Their compilation album, “The Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2” has gone platinum (a million units sold!) every single year since it was released in’82! If you don’t have it….you should go to iTunes this minute, and buy it today! You’ll thank me for it!

Ever since my friend, Tom Stout, first played “Peaceful Easy Feeling” for me somewhere in the early ’70’s, I was hooked….and I’ve been an avid fan of The Eagles ever since! There’s nothing to ‘not like’ about The Eagles music. It appeals to a broad cross-section of music lovers worldwide. Their sound doesn’t neatly fit in the ‘rock-n-roll’ genre although R&R lovers can find way more than enough to relate to. You can’t just call it ‘rock music’ either ’cause, again….it’s not a perfect fit. It’s not what I’d call ‘pop music’ at all…but again many of those listeners love those Eagles tunes! And even the ‘hardcore’ country purists, like myself, can get some solid satisfaction from listening to the Eagles. To sum it up….they’re not really like anyone else….they’re unique in that way!

The band found their sound in California where one of their downstairs neighbors, who quickly became a great friend, was carving out a pretty decent career for himself, as well. Jackson Browne, (click! you’ll love the song!) who in my opinion, is one of the great singer/songwriters/artists to ever come along spent hour upon hour with Glenn, Don and the guys writing, pickin’ and singing. Then they’d have the occasional ‘drop ins’ such as J.D. Souther or the Allman Brothers….and the jam was on! And now, here we are 40 some years later listening to many of those very same songs! It’s no wonder that particular era produced some of the best music to ever hit the waves. 

I’ve seen The Eagles in concert twice.We took Cameron, our daughter, on her 13th birthday to see them “LIVE”, 5th row on the floor at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Saw them again last year in OKC. I’m not saying I wouldn’t go see them again….but I kinda doubt it. It just wouldn’t be the same without Glenn. It’d be like Skynyrd without Ronnie Van Zant or Creedence without John Fogerty……I’m sure both are putting out some good stuff but I’ll save my money and reminisce about the ‘real thing’!

Here’s a few of my personal favorite Eagles facts:

‘Cleanest’ guitar playing, in my opinion,  of any band….ever! Flawless! Listen to their ‘lead breaks’ and I guarantee you’ll agree. Listen to the lead on Hotel California again….no, I mean really listen!

Steuart Smith – One of the all-time great guitar players. (my opinion) A fairly new addition to the band: (not necessarily a ‘member’ of The Eagles but a very key musician since ’01!; I saw him playing lead guitar for Rodney Crowell, mid ’90’s)

Although most people say that Glenn and Henley were co-founders…even Don said, “It’s Glenn’s band”!

Don Felder’s (former lead guitarist, composed the guitar licks for Hotel California) Book: Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) is a ‘tell all’. I read it through cover to cover almost without stopping. He’s still at odds with the band….and it doesn’t looks like it’s going to get fixed anytime soon!

If you like The Eagles you might appreciate these as well: Poco, Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, Desert Rose Band, The Byrds, Flyin’ Burrito Brothers

Of all The Eagles’ great songs, other than Hotel California, this is probably my all-time favorite: *A little something for you country fans! PS-You might’ve never heard it before! The Girl From Yesterday (click on it….and listen!)

The Eagles. Their music has played an important part in the soundtrack of my life.

 

*(Click on any of the highlighted links above for music performances and information!)

*Here’s just a few others that would be included in my soundtrack: Leon Russell, Ray Price, Faron Young, Johnny Paycheck, Delbert McClinton, Merle Haggard, Tom Petty, George Jones, ZZ Top,  Bob Dylan and the Allman Brothers, just to name a few.

What are some of yours?

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“I Ain’t No ‘Fortunate Son'”

John Fogerty, who in my opinion possesses the greatest rock and roll voice of all time (he actually does a pretty mean job singin’ country too, ‘click’ the highlighted link to watch some JF ‘country’), wrote that song in 1969. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at #99 on the“500 Greatest Hits of All Time”.  ‘Click’ here to watch Creedence Clearwater Revival perform “Fortunate Son”You’ll still hear it played often on classic rock stations coast to coast. The song did ruffle the feathers of the establishment (‘click’, for why?) back in the day.

I like the song, and just about everything else Fogerty has done,….but I do take issue with the title, for you and I, in light of what the Father has done on our behalf! Of course John wasn’t singing anything about his/our relationship with the Lord…..but if he was….. he would’ve definitely changed the lyrics to, “I Am A Fortunate Son’!! It would be much more appropriate knowing what I now know!

The very word, ‘gospel’, means “Good News”….and right up there at the top of the list of good things we’ve been ‘given’ through Jesus, is the reality that God, the Creator of the Universe, has hand-picked you and I to be His own sons and daughters. We should stop and think about that one for a minute. If we ever get the real revelation of that……it’ll transform every single area of our lives. We’ll stop trying to ‘earn our keep’, so to speak….and start to live from what’s already been done for us. We’ll begin to understand the incredible ‘value’ that He has placed on us. And maybe….just maybe we’ll start to see ourselves like He sees us.

John Fogerty sang, “I Ain’t No Fortunate Son”, and I get it. But you and I…….well, we ARE Fortunate Sons (and Daughters, if you will)! God, the Father, picked us out as His very own! When we grasp IT, nothing will ever be the same!

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we might be called ‘sons’ of God”  1 John 3:1 KJV

*If you enjoyed this one…..I think you’ll like this one too: 

“Only ‘Daddy’ That’ll Walk the Line”

 

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No Country For Old Men

That was a great movie in my opinion. I like about everything Tommy Lee Jones does, and Javier Bardem does a stellar job as the bad guy. If you haven’t seen it, you should. This blog is not about the movie. But “No Country For Old Men” seemed to be a great blog title to me after enduring about 6 minutes of the CMA Music Festival recently. Actually 6 minutes was about 4 more than I could take. I stayed hooked for 6 thinking it might get better. It didn’t.

I’m a music lover. I like all kinds of music. My iPod playlist includes a broad variety of everything from Blues, Soul, Rock, Tex-Mex, Jazz, Country, some Christian, very few Rap…. and even a little Classical. I can appreciate and artist’s craft no matter what kind of music they’re laying down. I don’t particularly like it all but I can appreciate it. I cut my teeth on Country. I was listening to it….and liking it since I was a little kid. In my folks vehicle the radio was always tuned to a Country station. When I started driving I bought an 8-track tape deck for $20 and mounted in the glove box of my dad’s pickup. My first 8-tracks were Hank Thompson, Johnny Cash, Charlie Walker and Waylon Jennings. Those are still to this day some of my all-time favorites. And if you want to get started on Country Music…those 4, any or all, would be a great place to start.

Nashville, in my opinion, has sold out. I wouldn’t argue that the stuff they’re putting out there today does sell. They’ve done a good job of marketing to younger and, in my opinion, less sophisticated listeners….and have ignored the ‘purists’…..the ‘real’ Country Music lovers. There are a few out there today who hold fast to the genuine. Jamey Johnson stands out, newcomer Chris Stapleton looks good out of the box. Dale Watson, who you’ve probably never heard of does the real thing. There’s a handful of artists still around who’ve got the goods. Alan Jackson and Dwight can still get ‘er done; No more George, Jones or Strait, Buck and Waylon are gone, but Willie and Merle are still out there gettin’ it done.

I guess my gripe is this; I can appreciate the talent of some of these young guys…although none of them are near as cool as they think they are. I can deal with their skinny, girly jeans (although I ain’t wearin’ em!) and I can tolerate their bad hats. I can even ignore the fact that they buy an acre or two, turn out a cow or a pig and call it a ranch. I do, however, think someone ought to tell ’em that pickups……ain’t trucks!

All I’m saying is this…..don’t call it Country Music…..when it ain’t!!

You don’t have to agree….it’s just my opinion….and you have a right to your own. And don’t waste your time trying to ‘set me straight’. It’s sad for the entire, so called, Country genre that there ain’t no more Hank’s, Lefty’s. ET’s, Faron Young’s, Webb Pierce’s or Ray Price’s coming up. Those guys songs will still be being played long after we’re all gone. The stuff you’re hearing today….listen up ’cause ain’t nobody gonna be playing it a year from now!

There’s No Country For Old Men!

**(Click on highlighted links to listen)

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