The Tradition Still Lives...
By: Gina Kay Singerhouse
It's a cool fall morning, as the tour bus rolls down that lonely stretch of highway. The sun is just peaking over the horizon, as its rays capture the fresh dew that covers the green grass below. It's harvest time and he sympathizes with all the farmers and ranchers as they pass by the fields, filled with corn, that are ready to be picked.
It's a hard life and he remembers it like it was just yesterday. As a boy, he was up before the cock crowed to welcome the sun. He had chores to do before school. There were two cows to milk and hogs to feed. But, he never forgot the long hours that he would put in during harvest time. Nonetheless when he laid his head down on that pillow each night, there was that feeling of accomplishment. It's a feeling that one can only get, when you work on a ranch or farm.
He is brought back to another time, as the bus passes by a ranch with horses grazing. Their beautiful coats glisten in the early morning sun. He is brought back to his cowboy ways. He can still remember that ol' quarter horse he used to have. She was beautiful, sleek and full of power in a gentle sort of way. He can remember the way the two of them melted together to become one, as he rode her along the fence line.
A twinge of minor pain moves up his spine as he remembers his days as a bronco buster and bull rider. Ah, Texas. The wide open skies and simple ranch life. He misses the life, but not all the hard work.
It's a life that once you live it, you never forget it. Although you despise all the hard work, somewhere deep in your soul, you wish that you could return to that simple life.
It's a life and a tradition that legendary Country Music entertainer Moe Bandy keeps deep within his soul. It's the spirit and custom that he takes with him where ever he may travel. It's the heritage that he works hard to install into his music.
For the first time in ten years, Moe Bandy has released a brand new studio album called Lucky Me. The album features eleven beautiful songs plus three bonus songs.
"I wanted to record an album, where I could go back and get the old country sound that we would get years ago with some of the same musicians, but with the modern technology that we have now. " shares Moe Bandy. "So we got some of the people that were on my records before...musicians like [Hargus] Pig Robbins and Charlie McCoy and Jimmy Capps produced it. Oh my God, he played so well! We got several of the players that we used to use. We got together and went out and found these great songs. I consider them great. Jimmy Capps help me find the songs. We found these songs and we recorded it and we had a great time. It just brought back a lot of memories and it was a lot of fun."
The recordings on this album are quite pristine with a pure and natural flow. One can hear the traditional cowboy mentality as you listen to Moe's immaculate vocals that are mixed with the traditional picking found amongst the melodies.
"There's a certain feel... of course the lyrics mean a lot to me." tells Moe on how he chooses which songs to record. "There's a certain feel about the melody too. There is a feel about a hit song, not necessary a hit song but a good song. When we sing it, there is a certain feel about it. I think a lot of times... now days we got so much technology that sometimes we lose that feel. But there is just something about a good song that sticks out and it's hard to describe. It's just a feeling that you get. You can listen to twenty songs and one of 'em all of a sudden just jumps out at ya and that's the way it is."
The album opens with the title cut, "Lucky Me." This is an excellent song to open the album with as it will remind you of Bob Wills with it's light hearted Texan two-step melody and lyrics that speak of true love.
The album continues with "Everything Hank Williams Did, But Die." This is the first song of many from this album that will hit our list of Top Songs of 2016, while earning a nomination for the Spirit Award's Song of The Year Award. Written by Jimmy Anthony, Bill Anderson and Hank Williams; Moe presents this one with respect to the legendary Hank Williams as it is performed in the style that Hank was well known for.
"There was a man named Jimmy Anthony that I met here, I won't go all into the details. But it was kind of a strange set of circumstances." shares Bill Anderson about how he wrote the song. "He was a guy that you could just look at him and tell he's had a rough life and everything hadn't been roses for him. He got to tellin' me little bit about his life and all. He was telling me the story of his life and he just looked at me and said 'You know, I've done everything ole Hank did but die.' He said 'ole Hank.' He didn't say Hank Williams, he said 'ole Hank.' And that just jumped out at me! That just hit me right between the eyeballs. I thought what a great idea for a song. I didn't mention it to him at the time. I just thought what a great idea and then I came home and got to foolin' around with it...I thought it ought to say Hank Williams in stead of ole Hank."
Bill Anderson gives credit to Jimmy as well as Hank Williams for aid in writing of the song.
Moe considers this song one of his favorites on the album due to the fact that he was such a huge fan of the legend. Moe was too young at the time to have seen Mr. Williams perform live.
"I never did..." answers Moe to the question if he had ever seen Hank perform live. "But I heard Hank Williams a lot on the radio, of course. I heard him through my Dad. I loved his songs and he (Moe's father) would play the guitar and sing. So, I learned a lot about Hank Williams through listening to my Dad sing and he was a good singer."
Throughout his fifty-two year career, Moe has worked with many different talented entertainers including Joe Stampley, Becky Hobbs and Judy Bailey.
"Well yeah, there's a bunch of them I would have loved...I never did record with George Jones and he was just my idol. I would have loved to have a record, a song that he would have sang with me on." tells Bandy. "I did have the pleasure of Merle Haggard...he wrote a song ["Don't Sing Me No Songs About Texas"] and came in and sang it with me on the record. I was very proud that I had that opportunity. But I had some great people on this album. The Oak Ridge Boys were so nice and they're good friends. The Riders In The Sky did so much and then the great Ricky Skaggs came in and played the Mandolin and sang harmony. I was just honored that they thought enough of me to do that. It was really a pleasure."
The Oak Ridge Boys lend their vocals in harmony parts in two songs on this admirable album. "Hell Stays Open" is a song that George Jones recorded and released on his 1990 album, You Oughta Be Here With Me. The second song, "A Place To Hang My Hat," is a song that Porter Wagoner recorded on his last studio album, Wagonmaster, that was released prior to his death in 2007.
The legendary group Riders In The Sky lend their vocal talents in two songs. The first, "That Horse That You Can't Ride," is a tender song, written by Blake Mevis, that is performed in a light hearted Texan melody. The second song, "Long Live The Cowboy," captures the essence and character of the typical cowboy. Moe draws from his life experiences as a true cowboy to bring this song to life. This song is another that will hit our list of Top Songs of 2016 and earns a nomination for the Spirit Award's Song of The Year Award.
Ricky Skaggs lends his vocals and picking skills on his mandolin in a remake of "The Rarest Flowers." Moe Bandy originally recorded this song for his Many Mansions album, that he released in 1989.
Moe includes a song that he co-wrote with Steve Sechler in "It's Written All Over Your Face."
"My guitar player and I wrote that song. I'd come up with that hook line years ago...thirty years ago." shares Bandy. "At the time I had a guy name Steve Sechler who played guitar for me. He now plays for John Conlee. I went to record this album and Steve come and said 'you remember the song we wrote?' and I said 'No I don't, I forgot it.' He said 'well I've got a copy of it.' So he brought a copy in and I thought well that's a good song, why didn't I record it? So we recorded it and it turned out okay."
Performed in a beautiful two-step, waltz style melody that captures your soul as you listen to the lyrics that are filled with despair and agony. This one is simplistically beautiful as it is filled with wholesome country music.
The album also consists of "Old Frame of Mine," a song written by two-thirds of the ever popular 1960's trio The Hardens. Moe captures the mentality of the classic country music of the 60's, 70's and 80's in this beautiful sincere ballad.
Another song that captures that mentality in a amusing way is "That's What I Get For Loving You." Even though this one is performed in a George Jones-esk style, it contains a hint of Jerry Reed amongst the lyrics. It's quite entertaining as it conveys how crazy a person can become when they fall in love.
The last song on this album to hit our list of Top Songs of 2016 and earn a nomination for the Spirit Award's Song of The Year Award is "It Was Me."
"That song is a great love song, you know." adds Moe. "It tells about two people...love at first sight. The melody to it really seems to match the song very well."
This song contains an exquisite and elegant melody that cascades as a two-step waltz. The lyrics deliver a message of two people who fall in love. Within it's artistry, one can find themselves swaying with the harmony as it begs you to stand up and dance. We will certainly add this to our list of songs perfect for weddings as it will transport you back to a time that has since gone by. Out of all the songs on this astonishing album, this one stands out amongst the others with it's tender gentleness.
As I said before, Moe includes three bonus songs. Included amongst the bonus songs is a song called "Broken Bones" written by Kelly Kenning. Moe brings this song to life as he adds his own life experiences as a bronco rider to the song.
"Well, I hope that they get that feel that we just talked about and that they can feel the music. That it can take them away from a lot of their sadness, whatever they have going on and it can bring memories." expresses Moe when asked what he wants the listeners to get from his album. "The thing about music is memories. You hear a song and it will trigger a certain time in your life or a certain memory and that's the main thing about music... is that. You might hear a song and it's got a line that appeals to certain people. I have a song that was a Number one record for me...'Til I'm Too Old To Die Young"... has a line in it that says 'let me watch my children to grow to see what they've become.' Which is one of the most powerful lines I think there is! It really does get to people when they hear that. So, that's a lot about music...is you want it to bring back memories and things about family and that type of thing."
The first and foremost part of this album is that it does transport you back to a more simpler time. A time when music was real and carried a traditional mentality with it. A time when couples went out to dance, as it captures the flow that one feels as you hear waltzes and two-steps. This album is sure to prompt many forgotten memories, especially by those who know what pure and real country music sounds like.
After he sold his theatre in Branson, Missouri, Moe returned to the open road. Today he tours in support of this new album. For more information about his tour and to purchase this album, please visit MoeBandy.com.
"Well I would like to say that I'm still enjoyin' singin' as much as I have over the years." shares Bandy. "I am just flattered that I am doin' what I'm doin' still to this day. And it's thanks to all the fans. If they keep comin' to my shows and keep buyin' my music...I just can't say enough about the fans!"
Fall may have arrived as he looks around. Mother Nature is truly showing her magic as the leaves turn from green to yellow, orange, red and brown. The farmers and ranchers are busy once more as they try to harvest all that they had planted in hopes for a mild winter. The hum of the tires on asphalt echo's through the bus, as it brings him to another town. Nonetheless, he is eager to get on stage to share the tradition that he so possesses within his music.
A tradition known as...Moe Bandy.
(© Strictly Country Magazine - September / October 2016.)
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