I’ve been in a pretty crappy funk for a while now. I hate it. I can’t seem to pull out of it. However, the past couple of days I have seen a glimmer of hope … thanks to the playlist I’ve been listening to at work (and have been listening to while I’ve been writing this post).
That has me thinking about the power of music. How music can make you happy or sad. How music can help you celebrate. How music can bring back memories (good and bad). How music can feed your soul.
My genre of choice is country music. It’s what I grew up listening to. From classic country to now, that’s what I listen to when I control the radio dial (or the mp3 player). I admit, some of the newer country music doesn’t really feel like country, but I still like most of it.
My current favorite (national) artists are Dustin Lynch, Old Dominion, Parmalee, Thomas Rhett, Brett Eldredge, Love and Theft, and Brantley Gilbert. That’s who’s in the playlist I mentioned. But every now and then, I crave “classic” country. I put classic in quotes because some of what I crave was what was on the radio when I was in college and when I first moved to Fargo. Calling that classic makes me feel old. 🙂 I’m talking about Terri Clark, Jo Dee Messina, Rhett Akins, John Michael Montgomery, Alan Jackson, Alabama, Garth Brooks, Martina McBride … I could go on and on.
When I first moved to Fargo, my friends and I went out almost every weekend (oh to be young again LOL). Our (or at least my) favorite night out was Thursdays at Pistol Pete’s Saloon. Thursday was ladies night, which meant all you could drink tap beer and well drinks for $6. Back then … when we were living paycheck to paycheck … that was a deal. Pistol Pete’s had live country bands on the weekends too … Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. While the bathrooms left something to be desired, the size of dance floor and the live bands made it a go-to place for country fans. I have so many memories from the original Pistol Pete’s.
Pistol Pete’s did move over the years, and I went out at all of them, except for the north Moorhead location (which I think was less country), because I LOVE live country music. The doors closed for good what seems like forever ago (I think it was 2009). Ever since then, Fargo hasn’t really had a country bar … at least not a real country bar. There was Cadillac Ranch, but that was a bar that played country music, not a country bar. The Windbreak and Shotgun Sally’s do have country bands on stage from time to time, but they’re not real country bars either. When you play everything but country music during set breaks, you’re not country. I’m left with no favorite hangout, and it makes me sad.
So what’s my definition of a country bar? It’s a bar that has live country bands every weekend (preferably the same band playing for a full weekend). It’s a bar that has a BIG dance floor that has enough room for 2-steppers to circle the outside and line dancers to dance in the middle with room left over for the free-stylers. It’s a bar with a stage big enough for a band to move around (and maybe bring people up on stage). It’s a bar that plays country music during set breaks (for crying out loud). That’s a real country bar. But it’s more than just that. It’s the way that the bar feels. I’m not sure how to explain that. But if you’ve ever been a “regular” at a country bar, you know what I mean. 🙂
One of the biggest things I miss about Fargo not having a real country bar is live country music. I’ve seen so many bands over the years. I’ve even helped some bands sell CDs and was the “WebMistress” for a band for a few years.
Some bands aren’t around anymore (Avalanche, The Plowboys, Catch 22 [they went by another name at one point too, but I can’t remember it now]). Some bands have completely different members (32 Below). Some bands I just never see any more either because I never know when they play or they don’t play around here on the weekends (The Roosters, The Great Outdoors).
The local bands that I see the most often these days are October Road and Redline. Every now and then, a band from Minneapolis comes to town (the Shane Martin Band, Hitchville, Copperhead Creek). I think (or at least I hope) they would come to town more often if we had a real country bar for them to play at.
For the past several years, I’ve had a dream that if I win the lottery, I’m going to build Fargo the country bar that it needs … that it deserves. A real country bar. A bar that has live bands every weekend, a huge dance floor, and dance lessons during the week. I’ve got a name and tagline picked out and people in mind that I’d hire for various positions. Oh yeah … I’m serious about this dream. I even had a location picked out, but some developer decided to put a strip mall there. So now I have to find another location. Oh … and I should probably start buying lottery tickets too, huh? LOL
I’d like to think that if I had a country bar to go to on a more regular basis that maybe I’d be able to keep these damn “funks” at bay. If I had a crappy week at work, I’d have somewhere to go hang out and forget about things for a few hours. Somewhere to dance and talk with friends or just listen to music. Somewhere to recharge my soul.
I talked earlier about some of the bands from Minneapolis that have come into town. One of those bands has become my favorite (and is in that playlist I mentioned), the Shane Martin Band. I’ve even gotten to be friends with the band (at least I hope they see me as a friend and not as a groupie). I wanted to share the music video for their song “Whatever Floats Your Boat”. It’s a fun summer song with a fun video. So check it out. And if you ever get a chance to check ’em out live, DO IT!!! I promise you that they’ll become one of your favorite bands too.