We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
When I bought my 2009 Ford Escape, it came with a free six-month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio. I’d heard a friend rave about it, so I was tickled to have a free opportunity to try it. The idea of having a station I could get all over the country without having to change stations—and commercial-free to boot—was a dream come true.
It didn’t take me long to find The Roadhouse, which plays classic country. That means basically from 1980 and earlier, although they do occasionally play something newer. For an old fart like me, that was perfect. For some reason the name of the station has changed to Willie’s Roadhouse. I don’t know why, but I suppose some money changed hands somewhere along the way.
One recent morning I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I had it on intermittently as I ran a few errands, probably not over thirty minutes altogether, but I heard five—count ’em—five big-time country stars singing what I consider to be their signature hits.
Johnny Cash came on first. This was by no means among his first hits, but I’ve always thought “Folsom Prison Blues” sorta defined him and his career.
Next came Loretta Lynn. Like Cash, she’d been a big star for years before singing this one, but no song has ever been such a huge part of a singer’s identity as “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Of course, that was the name of her biography, both book and movie.
Whispering Bill Anderson came on next. Can anyone hear the beautiful “Still” without thinking of him? I can’t.
What do you immediately think of when you hear the name Tennessee Ernie Ford? Okay, so some of you youngsters never heard of him. But anyone who has will immediately think of “Sixteen Tons.” Back in the mid-1950s, this was as big as anything Elvis ever did.
The last one is probably slightly less known than the others. And she may be better known as Waylon Jennings’s wife than as a singer in her own right, but Jessi Colter has a beautiful voice. She and Waylon collaborated on a fusion of Hank Thompson’s “Wild Side of Life” and “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels”—Kitty Wells’s answer to Thompson’s song. But the haunting “I’m Not Lisa” will always be Jessi’s identity to me. It was her breakthrough song, reaching number one on country charts and number 4 on pop charts in 1975.
You don’t even have to be a country music fan to enjoy songs like these. They’re just plain good music. And five different stars singing their signature hits in one brief morning of listening was way beyond expectation.
David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He has just e-pubbed his devotional, Heaven Sent: 67 Stories of Godly Thoughts and Inspiration (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008CRL82M). His new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880 is underway. The first one is in the editing process, and he’s currently writing the second one.
Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx
I’m no fan of CW but strangely I’ve started listening to the 40s and 50s on Sirus XM. Another good channel is 80 – the book channel. They read books. Unfortunately since most of my journeys are 15 minutes, I don’t get to hear all the book!
Hmmmmm . . . I think I’d rather people bought my book than hear it read on the radio.
Now that we have what I still think of as the luxury of commercial free listening–how can we ever go back to ‘the way it was?’ I also love the fact that we never lose a station when we drive through mountains or distant reaches of desserts–the music plays on.
I miss having Serius, but gave it up in order to buy gas. I loved Willie’s Road House, though, and I know what you mean about the enjoyment one can achieve from listening to those classics. I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Whispering Bill at the Grand Ol’ Opry last summer on a nostalgic road trip I took with my sister and niece. What a treat! We sang along in the audience so that we can now claim we sang at the Grand Ol’ Opry.
Wow, Cordelia! Can I have your autograph?