Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ridley Bent - Buckles & Boots

Now that the holiday season is behind us I can get to the stack of new releases that have been piling up on the dashboard.

If you’ve been riding the Bus for any time you know that I am a fan of country music, up to a point. That point would be around 1958 and the formation of the Country Music Association (CMA).

The CMA was the first trade organization formed to promote a music genre; a chamber of commerce for country music, if you will. By the mid-1970s the CMA had succeeded at its goal of modeling country music into commercially viable pop music with a twang and a cowboy hat. By the 1980s the transition was complete. Stockbrokers on Wall Street were wearing cowboy hats and pointy-toed, high-heeled boots and line dancing to the latest hits carefully assembled in Nashville.

Despite the CMA’s years of homogination and pasteurization, good country music is still flourishing in enclaves around North America. For the past few decades the western prairies of Alberta have been the center of country music in Canada thanks in part to the work and influence of Ian Tyson.

Like so many mid-continent youth, Alberta’s latest generation of country artists are moving to the coast. Vancouver is becoming Canada’s new hotbed of country music with artists originally from Alberta such as Corb Lund, Kent McAlister, and Ridley Bent taking the music of the dusty prairies to the more cosmopolitan setting of Vancouver.

Ridley Bent found his way to Vancouver and a job as a security guard. He passed the solitary hours lost in the pages of John Steinbeck and Louis L’Amour. These classic storytellers and an appreciation for the timeless country music of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams provided the inspiration for his own take on country music.

Ridley Bent’s wild stories of desperados, fallen rodeo stars, a high school drug sting gone bad, and an assortment of society’s misfits are filled with humor and unexpected twists backed by a tight country band. Buckles & Boots is real country music for the real world times of today.

Ridley Bent - Nine Inch Nails.mp3

Artist: Ridley Bent
Label: Open Road Recordings
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    Anonymous Paul said...

    It might be time to revive the distinction between "country" and "western." Ridley's rodeo style very much belongs to the latter group. Never having been a wearer of spurs, kickers, or ten gallon hats, I sometimes have a hard time identifying with the "cowboy" acts.

    Where is the modern day incarnation of Tom T. Hall on the "alternative" country scene?

    January 01, 2008 10:54 PM  
    Blogger Ed said...

    Paul, You make a good point about reviving the Western genre. I suppose most of the country music from Alberta would fall more easily into the Western domain.

    Greats the likes of Tom T. Hall, Hank Williams, Moe Bandy, Guy Clark, Ian Tyson,...( don't come along all that often. One's got to hope that, given time, will produce a great as well.

    January 01, 2008 11:33 PM  
    Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

    Funny you should mention '58. My most treasured record, a Johnny Cash/Tennessee Three Sun lp, was released in '57.

    I have a feeling the recent small scale Western music revival in these parts may be Western music's last hurrah. Most all the world's traditional music is being replaced by techno-this and techno-that. Could be techno will never go over big in places like Clinton, B.C. and that is where you will have to go to dance in your dirty boots, tattered hat and bad attitude.

    January 03, 2008 12:09 AM  
    Blogger Ed said...

    Happy New Year, Beer. That original Johnny Cash LP is truly a treasure!

    I’d like to give these newer artists the benefit of the doubt, but in today’s faster-paced, fad-filled world, I’m afraid you may be right. As Paul asked, “Where is the modern incarnation of Tom T. Hall?” or Stompin’ Tom Conners?

    January 03, 2008 8:41 PM  
    Anonymous Dan said...

    I can hear a group like Asleep At The Wheel doing this stuff. This is Country Swing. It's great, it's Canadian, and thanks.

    January 04, 2008 7:05 PM  
    Anonymous blackdog said...

    Hello Ed,
    I've been listening. It's amazing how good hooks stay afloat. I did some time in a song writers lab. Later for the story. The point being how hooks spin out and turn themselves around. Listening to Ridley Bent and I agree with you he is a good story teller with a fine voice. But the hook went round and round until I figured out where recently I had heard another version of this theme, she got the and I got the...And suddenly it came to me the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - she got the.. and I got the... The first cut.
    Just a lot of dust and don't get me wrong. If I remembered it it's cause I really liked it. What saves all this from becoming highway robbery from singer to songwriter is that it works when an artist makes it his own. Talent I guess. Which is the case here and the point. The idea is appropriated like a thousand years of music history demonstrates, and we or I do anyway hear the same hook coming around again with a whole new base line. It's all fantastic.
    We called it tune targeting and really turned out a lot of tunes. But who's counting.

    Good start for 2008. The wheels are turning.

    all thoughts fly... k.

    January 05, 2008 5:02 PM  
    Blogger Ed said...

    Black Dog,
    Ah, the all important hook. The “she got the ..., I got the ...” theme has been around the block more than a few times. I do like how he worked Nine Inch Nails into a C&W song. “Nine Inch Nails” is the first single to be released from this album, perhaps it was chosen just for the reason you mentioned – it fits the formula.

    I wish I had permission to post a few of the other cuts from this CD, as there are a couple of very good, well written songs that really stand out, but are lacking a hook.

    As you point out, my friend, “the idea is appropriated like a thousand years of music history demonstrates.”

    January 06, 2008 7:39 PM  

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