We did a radio show of country music this week. I have to confess-growing up in a Boston suburb in the 60s and 70s, I didn’t hear much of it. When I moved to Illinois in 1977 I heard more of it coming out of Chicago’s WMAQ.
The first commercial station I worked for carried American Country Countdown with host Bob Kingsley. As was the case with American Top 40, Kingsley’s show was well produced and he had a lot of great information on both the songs and the artists.
Peggy and I went to a few concerts over the years. We saw Willie and Waylon at the Indiana State Fair in the 80s. We also saw Barbara Mandrell in Branson one summer. (Front row seats!) I went to see George Jones at Fort Wayne’s Embassy Theater. It was late in his life but “The Possum” still came through.
Ken Burns’ PBS show on this genre is terrific. I loved learning about the high powered stations out of Mexico that featured country stars early on. Those stations had so much power you could hear the signal emanating from barbed wire fences in Texas.
When we were doing our show this week I was reminded of country’s authenticity. Also, there is a recurrent theme of people not taking themselves too seriously. That’s important.