I think I’m in the mood to start a new, (hopefully) daily feature on my blog today. My mind is filled with music so much on a daily basis, why not?
It’ll be like a long-running “now playing” feature at one of my favorite online haunts, www.progressiveears.com, a music discussion site and a huge worldwide community with wide-ranging varieties and opinions on music, where people just share what they’re listening to at that moment in time, whether it’s progressive rock, jazz-fusion, classic rock, heavy metal, avant, country, bluegrass, space music, alt rock … you name it, they listen to it there.
And the artwork at progressiveears.com (including the one I featured here) was done by an online friend of mine from Utah, Michael Phipps. You can check out his work at his website here. He’ll be VERY glad you did! Tell him I sent you, he just might jump for joy!
Today, I’ll start out with the memory of the days when I was 18 years old, and I got a full-time job at KUPI-AM/KQPI-FM in Idaho Falls as an afternoon drive time disc jockey on the AM country side, and the rest of my day was spent as the station’s sports director.
By the time I started working at KUPI, my mind was being filled with all kinds of progressive music. But, thanks to Mom, I already had a very wide-ranging knowledge and background in country music. She played it all the time, and if she didn’t some other relative of mine did.
So, when it came to country music, I knew what I was talking about when I went on the air.
But there were times when I would “push the envelope,” “color outside the lines.” We had a few countrified rock songs (on 45-rpm records or LP vinyl) in our shelves that I would dig into and pull out and just “rock” things up a bit when I was in the mood. And listeners seemed to like it.
For instance, we had a particular time — at least in every afternoon drive time shift — where we had a “truck driver’s song of the day.” And instead of playing the older, more twangy, straight-out truck driver story songs (which I would play) there were times I’d walk over to the FM rock studio and pull out The Doobie Brothers’ “Minute By Minute” album for a little dose of “Steamer Lane Breakdown.”
And, true story here, there was one time when I played that tune as the “truck driver’s song of the day” and I had an actual truck driver call me up in the studio and say, “That’s some of the best damn pickin’ I’ve ever heard, man! Who the hell is that?”
I’d seen my share of real, live honky tonks back then too, and I knew what songs were played on real, live honky tonk jukeboxes. Songs like The Allman Brothers’ “Ramblin’ Man.” So, I’d walk over to the FM rock side, pull it out, and “sneak it in” on the country side.
And listeners liked it!
Those were the ones I’d pull over from the FM rock side. As for the AM country side, I found hidden gems like the next one. This was how I’d occasionally “rock out” on the air on the country side.
But then there were pure country artists whose songs just weren’t “pure country” stuff and it’d get frowned upon. I’d sneak ’em in anyway. Yeah, I’d push the boundaries. That’s what happens when musical boundaries are put up as far as I’m concerned. I was 18 years old. I did stuff like that back then. But what could I say — top 40 or not, it was GOOD MUSIC!
More from my actual, occasional AM country side playlist that was frowned upon …
But there was one song in particular that I “pushed the boundaries” with when it was first released, playing the extended version of the band’s very first song, just because I liked it a lot, and that band ended up doing okay.
Too bad I can’t find the extended version. Oh well, here’s the “short version.”
And today, a lot of the songs I “pushed the boundaries with” back then would be considered “tame” on country radio these days. I guess my tastes in country were ahead of the times. They were too “progressive.”
That’s just me.