I’m sitting in the Phoggy Dog in Lawrence listening to my friend Blaine Younger play. I’m beginning to realize that Blaine and I have very different approaches to playing.
Blaine has fun. You can see it in his performance and the kind of songs he plays. The crowd responds well.
I have fun by not showing it. I have an agenda. Bleu Edmondson told me once in Hays that the secret was to force eight originals “down their throats”, give them a cover, and then play 10 more originals. Bleu may not be the biggest alt-country artist, but I’ll put his latest release “Lost Boy” up against any offering from the movement and give you a spread.
The covers I choose have always been songs I respect for pith or because they’re cryptic in a way I admire. My rule of thumb has been if the crowd responds positively that means I have a mandate to depart farther from mainstream into the obscurity I enjoy. After all, if they wanted to hear Kenny Chesney they could have stayed home, played CDs and continued watching NASCAR while flipping through Anti-science Weekly.
Maybe I’ll change. Maybe I won’t. While I like my musical-masochism, I enjoy Blaine’s approach and may begin experimenting with something like that again. We’ll see. Until then, go listen to some Lucero and Old 97s. And vote for Obama and Biden for a mature America.