I once read an interview Buck Owens gave, somewhere back in the 1990s.
I was an angry, teenaged punk kid back then. I had nine piercings, a shaved head, and a taste for MD 20/20 and Thunderbird screwtop wine.
I hated country music with a passion, mainly because I was expected to like country music as a farmboy. I cranked the Ramones and the Offspring while bailing hay, dammit.
In the article, Owen discussed his refusal to label the music he made as country music - he played American music. No other label was needed. The Beatles covered his work. So did Ray Charles. And Dwight Yokam, too.
It was around that time when I started to appreciate the fact that having the guts to kick in the Man's teeth wasn't the sole domain of the punk scene.
Guys like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker did it for jazz, Robert Johnson for the blues, Elvis did it for rock and roll, and guys like Buck Owens did it for country.
Owens represented the antithesis of the Nashville Establishment, honky-tonk's answer to David Bowie and Iggy Pop. He helped establish what would become known as the Bakersfield Sound, paving the way for country music to get a little dirtier, a little more bluesy, and a lot more entertaining.
I will never, ever forget the red, white, and blue guitar.
Where oh where are you tonight, Buck?
If you seen Waylon or Hank or Johnny Horton, say hi for me, will ya?
American Music, Badass, Buck Owens
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