Country (music), as a whole, is a disease with which one should attempt to avoid at all costs. This is, by and large, the general rule… obviously. BUT, as with any and every rule, there are exceptions. Cash, Nelson, Haggard, Williams, Robbins, and Statler, to name a small few, are tonight’s exception.
The Brothers Statler ride that fine line between punny and clever, while simultaneously offering glass-cutting vocal precision, and unforgettable, catchy, wholesome melodies. A time machine with one destination (my grandparent’s living room via the WXRO, rural radio at its best), the weighted power behind these ancient voices gives life to a fleeting memory that was all but taken for granted (at the time), and is nourished and cherished throughout these nostalgic, lamenting days.
As much as one would like, the personal past, and the nonchalant sounds within, cannot be forgotten.
I’ve found, that in my 34 years experience on this revolving rock, that the best (read: only) way to experience Texas is through song. Personal politics aside (for now), Marty Robbins’ tenderly told ballad of haunting devastation, albeit now 55 years old, still manages to jerk a hidden tear or two from this sappy, heavyhearted lover of Western ballads.
Little more screams unquestionable masculinity than a gunfighter, dressed in black, poised and ready to maim a potential opponent, while he stands endlessly noble over a flamboyant (and there’s nothing wrong with that) sea of hot pink. Displayed on my vinyl-papered bedroom wall for years, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs successfully manages to steer that sturdy steed along the fine line between sensitivity and unchallenged storytelling. I know that for a lot of people, Western really isn’t their ideal choice for a hog-killin’ time, and believe me, I used to lasso that sentiment myself, but given the song’s history, coupled with the beautifully told ballad of lost love, I’ve concluded that, at least for me, El Paso is a legitimate cry from an otherwise worthless state.