A couple non gigs

I always made it a practice to never turn down any gigs. I was glad to get called for any gig, living in the same town with Buddy, Hal, Weldon and so many other monsters. So over the years I played with great bands, mediocre bands, bad bands, and with guys who should have had their guitars confiscated by the County Music Police. But I had to draw the line somewhere, I really did, no matter how desperate I was for free beer or the experience or just the practice time.

So I did turn down two gigs. You might not want to work them, either.

I got a call form a guy I didn’t know (can be risky) to play a little bar in East Nashville, and I said, sure, I’ll do it. It was summer, the temperature was in the 90’s, and I drove down to the gig that evening and cruised past the bar. The door was open. Oh, shit, I thought, no A/C. I could see the bandstand, such as it was, just a small raised square of wood about 10′ x 10′ on which were perched a singer with a flat top and a spoon player. A goddamn spoon player! Holy shit, I’d never worried with a spoon player, I guess he was in lieu of a drummer. So I just kept driving.

Another time I got an email from a guy who told me that he couldn’t really afford a steel, since they were working for the door, and he mentioned all the great steel players he could get if he wanted to but that I was welcome to drop by if I wanted to. I did drop by, and I watched him bitch at the sound man for half an hour and just generally make an ass of himself. Three people left because they didn’t like his attitude. I didn’t, either. I had a beer and left, too.

Mustang Sally

This song gets a lot of flack from country musicians, and even rock musicians, I guess, who’re tired of playing it on bar gigs. But, hey, it might get some drunk chick on the dance floor to take her top off, ya never know, so it might be worth playing once in a while. Anyway, here’s a flow chart that I got in my email today that might help you decide whether to play it the next time you get a request.

Musicians get more respect than cubicle drones, sometimes

I’ve had only four day jobs as an adult – and that was after I’d made a living as a steel guitar player for 30 years or so – and I noticed, among a few other things, that I didn’t get near the approbation that I’d been used to as a musician. Nowhere near. I could be doing my job just fine, but nobody bought me a beer or gave me a tip or watched me work and marveled at my expertise and said they wished they could do what I could do, or sat in and did my job for an hour because it was just so much fucking fun. In fact, I got fired from two of those jobs. Heh, I’ve had hundreds of steel guitar gigs and only got fired from one of them.

As a musician I could work up a new lick or an instrumental and usually get a little positive input from the band or from an interested onlooker, but when I put in a little extra effort at a day job all I was likely to get were suspicious glares from management because they thought I might have a better idea than they did or some sneaky-ass-behind-my-back activity from sniveling underlings who just wanted to steal my shit so they could impress someone and get a promotion or a bonus or a better parking place.

Not to say that this kind of behavior doesn’t occur in the music business, because it certainly does, but from my experience it seems to be more rife in the Dilbert world, and talent and a sense of humor go a lot further in the music world than in cubicle land.

I don’t plan on having any more day jobs, because of the above, and because you have to drive in rush hour traffic and wear a seat belt and not drink anything stronger than coffee and dodge other cubicle drones and drunken illegals, and you rarely have to do that when you’re a musician – well, there might be some crazy Messicans out at 3am in Nashville when you’re trying to get home from a gig without getting a DUI. And, damn, it’s such a bitch driving anywhere when you’ve been used to professional smooth-ass ex-musician bus drivers who can get you to Oregon or Florida without throwing you out of your bunk or spilling your beer even once.

Governor George W. Bush Sends Greetings

A guest post by Texas Troubadour Lynn Owsley:

Lynn Owsley and Cal Sharp

June of 1995 was the date for our first ever Texas Troubadour Reunion to be held in Nashville, Tn. We were excited to be getting together again and even more excited to play together again. We were honored to have many big stars sitting in our audience. We even returned to the Grand Ole Opry on Porter Waggoner’s segment and performed two songs, getting a standing ovation along the way. It was quite a large time for the Texas Troubadours!

The mayors of Hendersonville,Tn, Nashville, Tn and Fort Worth, Tx had made proclamations, the Governor of Tennessee had Made it Texas Troubadour Day in Tennessee. Even Congress declared something, and sent the appropriate papers with all the purdy state seals, shiny things, and blue ribbons.

When we started to put the reunion together we had contacted the governor’s office in Texas, our organization had requested a proclamation from the governor of Texas. After several days one of the assistants to Governor Bush called me to let me know that there would be no proclamation from the governor’s office.

The assistant for Gov. Bush explained to me, “The Governor feels that it would be inappropriate to make a declaration for Texas Troubadour Day in Texas while you are actually having your big affair and reunion in Tennessee.” And he went on with, “If you ever have a reunion in Texas, just call and we will make the declaration without hesitation.”

I then told the assistant, “Mr. Barnett, you have hurt my feelings and you will make all the Texas Troubadours, who are Sons Of Texas, feel rejected!” Then I began to educate Mr. Barnett, saying that the states of Texas and Tennessee have been sister states since 1836. In music we shared Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Jim Reeves, Charlie Walker, Claude Gray and Billy Walker – the list goes on and on – we have shared a great musical legacy.

In another century we shared great statesmen and fighters – Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, William Barrett Travis, Jim Bowie… As a matter of fact, the state of Tennessee is known worldwide as the ” Volunteer State”. This name comes from the volunteers who went from Tennessee to Texas to help fight a war. All of them at the Alamo perished while fighting for a Texas cause: Freedom.

“Now, Mr. Barnett, if the Texans in 1836 had asked for help from Tennessee, and the Tennesseans said,”If ya’ll would have your war up here in Tennessee we might be willing to help. But we feel that it is inappropriate for us to come down there to Texas to fight. If you ever fight another war and do it here in Tennessee, then we won’t hesitate to declare something and help ya’ll out!”

Mr. Barnett said, “Thank you for the lesson, Mr. Owsley, now how do you want this proclamation to read?”


And I asked him to just include a bunch of “where as’s” and some “heretofore’s” and, oh yeah, don’t forget to include a couple of “be it known’s” and maybe add one of the ever popular “Honorable’s.” If it sounds purdy then it is purdy.

Only in the Life of a Texas Troubadour…

– Lynn Owsley

George Jones fires two musicians

The big news around Music City recently was how a couple of the Jones Boys, after more than two decades of service, got fired because they wouldn’t sign a confidentiality agreement. Yeah, it happens all the time, sidemen getting screwed around, but this is kind of an interesting story.

Makes you wonder what George Jones has to hide, and who was really behind this. His wife? His handlers? His lawyers? Some unknown and mysterious business partners? Was there some financial venture that went awry and needed to be covered up? It also might make you wonder how and why anyone, even Jones, could make such a dumb-ass move. I mean, damn, what more incentive would someone need to spill the coke beans to the Enquirer or whoever else might care about what the Possum has really been up to all these years? Idle speculation certainly, but such questionable behavior encourages armchair conjecture.

I never worked for him, but I’ve been on package shows with him and seen him at the old Hall of Fame in Nashville and I’ve known plenty of guys who have worked for him who could tell you some really odious stories, and he’s really just a dim-witted redneck who happened to have a lot of talent. He can’t even remember the names of some of the musicians who’ve worked for him for years. He sings great, or used to, but I”m not a fan and I’ve never liked his records. He had some good country songs, but the arrangements and producing never did much for me. I’ve spent many, many hours learning licks off records by Price, Tubb, Owens and some of the other singers who inspired me to be a steel guitar player, but I can’t think of one lick I ever learned off a George Jones record. I did, however, cop a nice lick from Tom Killen that I heard him play on a show at Jones’s country park in Colmsneil when I was there with Faron.

Well, I’m sure the ousted musicians will land on their feet. They might have been a little tired of Jones anyway, after all those years. You can read Kent Goodson’s statement at Kent Goodson Music.