I’m going to use a metaphor to describe this post, and that is the subject matter of the story-turned-film “No Country For Old Men.” There’s some things that are synonymous with the word “old.” Westerns. Folk music. Clint Eastwood. Bob Dylan. Tommy Lee Jones. Johnny Cash. But there’s also a new life being breathed into these once old things, and it’s a dynamic that’s transforming our world both in entertainment and in how we view things.
First in music, as many of you know and read here and listen weekly on The Appetizer, folk music is being rebirthed in our country with emerging talent like Ray Lamontagne, Iron & Wine, Ingrid Michaelson, William Fitzsimmons, Ari Hest and others. It’s an ever-growing movement in music that clearly traces its roots back to the pioneer guitar songwriting days of the 1800s, early 1900s, and 1950s through 70s. Songs that deal with struggle, oppression, misunderstanding, maturity, and heart issues pertaining to love and loss are prevalent now just as they were then. The new folk movement is growing in fans and is picking up steam. Many of these artists were performing for dozens of people in small venues 5 years ago. Now they’re packing places out like theaters and other venues where hundreds to a thousand or more people show up. It’s not the pop or rock concert atmosphere with thousands slammed and crammed into each other. But it’s an experience all the same. It’s an old paradigm that’s coming back to life.
I put Texas Rangers in the title here because there’s another old guy who was pretty famous for playing one on TV several years ago-Chuck Norris. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s a childhood hero of mine and millions of other people. His b-movie action stuff from the 1980s and 1990s are stuff of legend, and the most recent collection of Chuck Norris “Facts” are pretty awesome as well. Here’s the kicker for me. This guy is 70 years old. 70. I had to let that sink in. Not that his older age means that he should be so accomplished and celebrated for that reason alone. It’s that we still revere him as the badass dude today he was 40 years ago. That’s impressive. And to top it off, he became an honorary Texas Ranger today, also something of impressiveness. You can hear the story that KACU put together for this KACU-N@NNorrisStory-12-3-10.
I love that things are changing. I love that just because something has a standing or label as being “old,” that it’s not just thrown out or completely disregarded as it once was. I don’t think that applies across the board for all things, but certainly in these two examples. Folk music will continue to grow in fandom and favor with people looking for deeper connection in music, searching for something that tells a bigger story than the regurgitated songwriting of pop music. And we’ll continue to celebrate and create mythology around old men and women who continue to inspire, impress, and exude something greater than average.
I’ve got a great serving of new and old folk artists on this weekend’s edition of The Appetizer with music from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Jill Andrews, Sufjan Stevens, Twyla Foreman out of Abilene, Tx, Chris Velan, Trevor Hall and much more. Tune in Saturday at 3P on 91.3 KVLU in Beaumont, Saturday at 9P on 89.7 KACU in Abilene, and Sunday at 9P on 90.5 KTRL in Stephenville, Tx.