This one comes up because of my wife and I exchanged a couple of smaller Christmas gift last evening. My gift from her, a Glen Campbell Greatest Hits CD, which has been on Amazon wish list for a couple of years. I have been listening to it last evening and again this morning. A wonderful gift indeed. Continue reading “Hero: Glen Campbell”
I had been thinking about writing this blog for some time now, but had just not really gotten around to it. Last night though, a friend shared a few songs that are special to her with me for various reasons. One of those songs was Johnny Cash covering the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt. By the way, I do like the NIN version, but I think the pain and the hurt just come out in such a much deeper way, perhaps because of his deeper life experiences with such things, in the Cash version. Anyway, this has in turn put me in the mind to go ahead and write this very blog that I had been thinking about for sometime.
When I first started thinking about writing this I debated between the title as given and a title of”Johnny and June.” Even now I am still considering it. Sure, there would have perhaps been a Johnny Cash with out June, but it would not have been the Johnny Cash that we know, love and miss today with out her. And how many people, who have had that chance once or twice at a great love and messed it up? You look at Johnny and June though, who were both at odds at one point with spouses, and what a life love they ended up having. I agree, that perhaps the stage relationship and the back stage situations that we may never know fully were a contribution to some of the odds with spouses, but that is not the point. The relationships were messed up and yet with in each other they found that endearing happiness despite that, and it lasted the rest of their lives.
As I am waiting for a few thousand files to upload across the network so that I can move on the next step of something I doing for me on the computer end of things (which of course in turn allows me to put off for a bit longer what I need to do for the office between now and the morning) – I thought I would blog. Despite having a long list of blog ideas here on paper, as well as another list recorded in MP3 format – I was feeling particularly lazy. So, I thought for a bit and decided to write a bit about Willie and why he could be a hero.
First let me say there are a 100 reasons or more why Willie shouldn’t be anyone’s hero, but there are a good four or five reasons why he should. I don’t advocate some of the things that Willie has been involved in but I am going to focus on those reason above and beyond his musical talent of why he could be a hero.
Reason 1: Willie certainly gets my vote with all he has done over the years with the Farm Aid nonprofit organization. He was involved in the beginning back in 1985 with the first farm aid benefit concert along with John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and seems to me Bob Dylan was involved behind the scenes as well. I still think that some of what got farms in the situation they were in the 80’s was the move toward big industrial agriculture instead of smaller family farms – but that is beside the point as there were as many folks inside the beltway and out associated with government agencies that were just as, if not more, responsible for the move. Anyway, twenty plus years later they are still going strong with a motto of, “family farmers, good food, a better America.” That certainly hits right in line with my thoughts on the matter.
Reason 2: Aside from the farmers, Willie just has a connection with the common man. Despite being a wealthy man (or least he was at one time) he just sings about and makes such a connection with the general common everyday person. Mostly through his music, but I have seen clips of things here and there that show the point as well. And despite that, he can also rub shoulders with anyone if the need be and not be out-of-place. A large part of this in the payback when Willie got in some tax trouble and the number of folks that helped bail him out by buying back his stuff and giving it back to him.
Reason 3: Willie is his own man – there is no question about that. From drinking whiskey and other questionable substances to the now trademark hair in brands. He isn’t going to change for anyone or anything from who he is. More valid proof can be found in his early career – when Nashville had a certain clean-cut tow the line image it wanted its singers to have. Willie wrote songs, and tried some, but unwilling to play the game settled on pig farming for a time being instead of compromising.
Reason 4: Willie is all about family. I know I personally get a bit aggravated about my family coming down to me, but if I ever have children I hope that I can have the kind of unconditional love and desire to do right for my kids that Willie has. An example, once asked about a few songs that he wrote and sold complete rights to for a fee of $25 and $50 bucks in an interview – songs that were then made top ten and even number ones by artist the like of Patsy Cline and Ray Charles – was he bitter about that. His simple common mans answer was something to the effect, $50 dollars bought a lot of food for my babies at the time and that was what was important that day or week.
Reason 5: Willie really is just a cowboy when it comes down to it and in my opinion – in case you haven’t guessed it already just being a cowboy – especially that wears a white hat as is evidenced by some of the above puts you in the realm of being a hero. He loves to head out to his western town on his ranch in Texas, which is best accessed by horse back and kick back. How much better could life get then that.
So Willie, if you ever stumble across this and you want someone to head back to the frontier with you, let me know and I will be there in a day or two – horses in tow. Be careful though about inviting me, as I may not ever want to leave.
My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are, it seems. I am sure that a number of your recognized the title of a song by Willie Nelson, himself a certain type of cowboy/hero type, but more on him and that idea later. And yes, for those that are wondering, on one of my recent late drives I put in a greatest hits of Willie and after listening, I was inspired for at least five or six blogs.
So, as to my heroes – just as the song says, I spent most of my youth dreaming of and playing at being just like one my heroes. Not sure that I learned the little bits about taking what you need from the ladies and leaving them with a sad country song until a bit later – but I am not sure that is absolutely a requirement – though I guess in reality that lonely drifter image that is unwilling to bend to anyone or anything, including progress is part of the attraction. It is certainly the reason that they are still my heroes today. Continue reading “My Heroes have always been cowboys…”