Thursday, June 19, 2008
I am in Texas again - I was here a month ago for reasons that will become clear on Sunday. (I texted 'Don't mess with Texas' to Nige last time; he replied, 'I never have and I never would.') Over ten days I became acclimatised. Landing in Austin in 100 degrees felt like coming home as did the part funny, part serious sense of identity of this state. Turning on the car radio, I heard a DJ running a quiz intended to find out how Texan you are. The first question was: do you think you need a passport to leave the state? I love this. I also love the fact that, judging by my experience last time, half the people in Texas are gifted musicians. An 8 hour afternoon in somebody's house consisted of about six hours of superb country music. One kid played Gram Parsons just for me and a rather grand oil boss sang Hank Williams exactly like Hank Williams. I felt ashamed, I can't do this. Roger Scruton, when he moved to Virginia, remarked to me that local music making was alive there. It seems to be true across America. Not in Britain, sadly. Impromptu music is often the best music and impromptu country, with its emotional directness, is best of all. But then there's also country's self-effacing comedy. This song seems to be played on the radio every hour or so.
'Oh, my eyebrows ain't plucked, there's a gun in my truck
Oh thank God I'm still a guy.'
Who could fail to sing - well, shout - along? I always do.
PS And I got the boots at Allens. You should go there sometime. My new ones are handsome Luccheses.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 10:58 am