The Roots of a Drunken Rogue

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The Birth of a Music Lover

So just last post I was telling you guys about how crazy I am about Taylor Hicks and Elliot Yamin from American Idol as well as Ray LaMontagne. Well I thought perhaps I should tell you a little about my background, my experience, my taste and my current job, before I give you anymore music recommendations.

I was born a poor black boy...no wait that was Steve Martin. I was born poor... well not really but sorta white trash. Does that count? My Mom and Dad both come from country people and we wouldn't look or sound out of place at Dollywood let's just put it like that. Mom's family is from a little place in Mississippi called Goose Holler ( I swear to God), and Dad's is from Chandler Mountain in Northeast Alabama (just outside of Steele). Both sides are Baptist of one persuasion or another, although we have been known to frequent the occasional Methodist Church. My Father's Father was a preacher, and Dad's a Music director at his church. I get three things honest, the Gospel, a country accent and outlook, and music.

Since as long as I can remember there has been music and lots of it. Country and Gospel in large amounts of course, but also folk, bluegrass, classic rock, oldies, and soul. Other than hip hop I was exposed to it all from a very early age. I have never thanked those responsible properly so let's give that a shot.

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Nana - Nana knew two kinds of music when I was a child: hymns and hymns sung by Elvis. I still love the King, especially when he sings about the King of Kings.

Grandma Sharpton - Grandma yodelled and moaned her way through traditional folk songs, hymns and Hank Williams tunes all throughout my youth. When I sing you can hear some of that in my voice, too. I appreciate it in others. She also loved complicated and witty lyrics about simple life (think Roger Miller)

Mom - Mom loved Elvis, and Kenny Rogers, but the two artists I am most appreciative of her turning me onto are K. T. Oslin and the Beatles (ecletic, yes). K.T. led me down a whole 'nother road, one paved by Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday. The Beatles, well they only invented Rock and Roll. Until them everybody was playing hillbilly music or copying Chuck Berry.

Ann - Ann liked the Eagles, Rod Stewart and Billy Joel, artists that filled holes in my musical education.

Sally - one of

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Mom's best friends, she was the only adult I knew as a child that never listened to country radio. She always had the oldies tuned in and from Bobby Darin to Freddy Fender she loved it all.

Mrs. Alice - my Nana's next door neighbor, we would play 45's on her old record player, and every one seemed to me like a new discovery. Thanks for Fats Domino and Blueberry Hill.

Jason - When I was very young I remember Jason listening to Poison, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, I didn't latch onto his music but it opened me up to new possibilities.

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Angie - big sis liked hip hop and rap and gave me my very first rap tape: Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, thanks sis.

Chris - Chris was into two things when I was a kid, Mustangs and heavy bass. He first played me Eazy E, Public Enemy, and Run DMC

Dad - probably nobody has as much influence on my musical tastes and style as Dad does. His favorite is Bluegrass and rail against it as much as I did in High School there is something about that music that speaks the poor little irish boy inside me. Clint Black, and Randy Travis are two of his favorite modern artists and their catalogues form a lot of the filter through which I hear country music in particular.

So there it is in nutshell, where I came from musically. Where did I go? Well, I've always had a soft spot for eighties country, Strait, Black, Travis, K.T., Milsap etc. During junior high and high school I drifted very much into the world of hip hop, both old and new school. My cd case was full of Tupac and Eazy E, Biggie and Master P. As I got to college I returned to roots, taking a trek through classic rock, first the Eagles, then Seager, Doobie Brothers, Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and eventually wound up back in country music, this time without the eighties shine. I found myself pouring over Willie Nelson albums, entranced by his phrasing and lyrics. Now I love it all but let me tell you a few favorites.

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RE: These are guys you need to look up!!!

Shooter Jennings: My favorite country artist working, he's got every bit of his Dad's chutzpah and thirty years of rock and roll history to channel it through. New album Electric Rodeo in stores today.


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Rodney Crowell: The Bob Dylan of country music. His new album The Outsider is one of the best of any genre in years.

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Jeffrey Steele: This guy may rather have you support him by buying an album he wrote songs for which would pretty much be anyone in country music right now. Van Zandt, Montgomery Gentry, Rascall Flatts, Keith Anderson are just a few of the artists who have songs by Steele on the charts right now.

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Hank Williams III: Another son of a legend in this case, Grandson of a legend, too. He looks like his grandad, sounds like his grandad and acts like a combo of his father, Johnny Cash, and Robert Plant. His music is Hillbilly Acid and it screams cool. Straight to Hell is the latest album, out now.

Alright so there it is. That's where I come from and where I went. Hopefully it gives you guys some point of reference for my writing. Don't get me wrong I have a lot of other favorites. Willie's got a new album for instance, but you guys know who he is. Some of you may not know some of these guys.

I'll be back soon. I want to let you know about what I do at the radio station, what it's like being a dj and my new old friend Jo-el Sonnier.

For now, I remain
The Original Drunken Rogue