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country rock music


Ross Brown

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Does country and country rock fill bar venues?

 

I am exploring an idea. What is your favorite country rock/country song that should be on a set list? I am clueless...

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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I don't have a favorite country rock song, either.

 

There are plenty of places where country or country rock is exactly what you should play.

 

You could start with something like Elvira or Boot Scootin' Boogie that has a line dance that goes with it.

 

Don't play real country music like Hank Williams or Patsy Cline. That's not what they want to hear.

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It's gotta be dancable. If you can't line, two-step, shuffle or whatever and get into the "cryin' in my beer" stuff, the place will empty.

 

The little bar on the corner with all the sad, little people is the place for that, but they usually can't afford a band.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Funny story -

 

One band I was with for a week or two, we had one of these singers (unemployed iron worker - with the stimulus money out here flowing like water, the only way an iron worker is unemployed is ... well ... you'll see). Had a good voice for country music, not so sure about rock.

 

Well, we spend four hours (yes, four!) on Hank Williams III's "Low Down". First of all, I didn't know Hank Jr. had a kid. Second, I didn't think he could sing (he can't). Third, I didn't think he could write (he can't).

 

Up tempo, this song services as an almost passible two-step. The bridge has an odd change, but nothing the guitar and I couldn't work out. So, all of a sudden, Lowdown Singer wants to drop the tempo out of the bridge going into the third verse; I mean dirge-like. The song "spoke" to him on a spirtual level and "express" his "true feelings", allowed him to "share" his true emotions. I replied dancers don't give a crap about his feelings, or artistic impression, or sharing and that if we tried that crap the dance floor would be as empty as that pack of cigarettes he had in his pocket.

 

Never went back after that.

 

Shame really, the guitar had some skills if it wasn't for the drinking...

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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I think it depends on the area you live. In my area southern rock like Lynrd Skynnrd (sp) and the Eagles and the like does ok but as far as country some of the bars that have tried it have not done so well. It's kind of funny because Young country radio is moderately popular around here. Maybe there's pockets in our area where it does well. We do occasionally get requests for some country.

I like a lot of the new country although I don't have a favorite. Our band does some Skynnrd as well as some Dwight Yokam and some others. I wouldn't mind doing She's Country by Jason Aldean. If we had a female singer there's a few tunes I'd like to do. Stuff by Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson.

I like the song Beer for My Horses by Tobey Keith too.

I agree with Flank, it does have to be danceable. Country ballads are ok but nobody pulls 'em off very well and they will clear a bar.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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"Dreams" is good. It's an upbeat version of an old Allman Brothers song (it's actually called "Dreams I'll Never See").

 

Classic Southern Rock (Skynyrd, Hatchet, Blackfoot, .38 Special, Eagles, and the like) fills lots of clubs around here. Most "New Country" is Southern Rock. The Jason Aldean song is a good example of such. But a lot of musicians don't feel that it's musically or cerebrally challenging (NOT TRYING TO START A "DEFEND THE EXISTENCE OF SOUTHERN ROCK" THREAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) :eek:

 

Just find out what fills the club you want to play. I love playing Southern Rock, but for reasons like keeping the band booked, we tend to play more classic rock than anything.

Do not be deceived by, nor take lightly, this particular bit of musicianship one simply describes as "bass". - Lowell George

 

"The music moves me, it just moves me ugly." William H. Macy in "Wild Hogs"

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The blues band played this past Saturday and we played fairly well. We had to go without keys since it was a small venue but the keyboard player came and helped us with our sound etc.

 

The bar owner really liked us but her regulars did not like the type of music and started clearing out about half way through the night. Some folks stayed the whole night (the venue was about 1/3 full at the end of the night) and we got good feedback from them about the quality of the music. The singer from my other band came and also said we sounded good and thought that people that he saw were into it. Either way, the bar owner will probably not re-book us. (I have worked with her for a while and she is very good to deal with. She and I had a conversation about it and she agreed with me that she had thought it would work well, but it did not).

 

I asked about country rock because I am trying to figure if there is a cool mix of music styles that would work around here. I agree with what everyone says in that it should be danceable! I think we lost people when we started playing some of the slower blues (My Mind Is Trying to Leave Me, Blues Stew, etc) musically and vocally, again, they were very strong. They were beautiful, but not fit for the venue, I suppose. We ripped the place apart with a funky version of Goin Down that was cool but we need more of that feel.

 

Like I said in the OP I am brainstorming. I am thinking right now that (pick one):

1) We need to be very selective in venue selection

2) Ride the edge of blues and rock a little closer

3) Be two different bands depending on venue

4) Create a set list that is a mix of different styles yet keeps everyones interest. Country rock, classic rock, blues

 

I suppose I am having an identity crisis with this band. I dont want to recreate the classic rock band since I am already in one. Like to play blues but I am not sure we can sell that enough to get booked often.

 

Thanks for listening.

 

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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My band calls ourselves a "roadhouse" band, playing "rockin' blues, rockin' soul, rockin' country, and rock 'n roll." Our experience has been that if we bill ourselves as a blues band we won't get booked. Nevertheless we play a lot of uptempo blues - we only have one slow blues in our entire set list - and rockabilly, 3-chord rock 'n roll, Johnny Cash/Dwight Yoakum, all very bluesy genres. People dance and many seem none the wiser. We also do a couple of Skynrd tunes because they get the people up and dancing. I think you could do worse than add a little country rock into oyour set list, just play it in your own inimitable style.

 

 

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You could play a little Poco(pun intended) "Indian Summer" and "Crazy Love" would work in a country bar. Some Firefall would work too; Sad Old Love Song is a killer cryin'-in-your-beer slow dance for the third or fourth set.

 

Travis Tritt has some stuff that straddles the country/rock void pretty well. T.R.O.U.B.L.E. would get 'em going for sure.

 

And let's face it, if you're gonna infiltrate country bars, you're gonna have to do at least one song by Hank(Jr. and/or Sr.), it just goes with the territory. But what's cool about Hank Sr's tunes if they make killer medium and uptempo blues tunes. Lovesick Blues, Settin' the Woods on Fire, Jambalaya, aznd a whole bunch more will all work really well. Listen to a collection of Hank Williams' hits, and tell me you can't make a lot of those songs rock.

 

But if you really wanna raise the roof on a country bar, play Toby Keith's The Angry American at the end of your 3rd set. When those boys(and girls) are about 3 sheets to the wind, they get mighty happy hearing about kicking almost anybody's butt, but especially Middle Eastern butt. If you don't believe me, try it. You'll be lucky if they let you off stage without an encore.

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

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Like I said in the OP I am brainstorming. I am thinking right now that (pick one):

1) We need to be very selective in venue selection

2) Ride the edge of blues and rock a little closer

3) Be two different bands depending on venue

4) Create a set list that is a mix of different styles yet keeps everyones interest. Country rock, classic rock, blues

I think option #4 is the way to go. A roadhouse band is a good idea. If you mix it up a bit you might just find the answer to your questions.

Where I live there has been a strong interest in the blues for as long as I can remember. If you don't already have that kind of interest there it would be very hard to cultivate.

 

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Try to please everyone, and please no one.

 

I recommend knowing the venue and having a set list for that venue. IF possible, see another band playing there and learn from their mistakes.

 

One place I went to would consider Skynyrd country enough, but in the bar across town it would clear the dance floor at best and set the beer bottles flying at worst.

 

Here's my recommendations, country songs that rock enough to keep you from going nuts after root-fiving your way through the set:

"The Whiskey ain't working" by Travis Tritt, people like to sing along, and this is a singable song, especially in te second set after the crowd's been likkered up. Once you learn the changes, there is a lot of subtle fun to be had with the bassline.

 

"T-R-O-U-B-L-E" By Travis Tritt. This is a fun song to play, a walking bassline that will make you sweat.

 

"Margaritaville", generally acceptable anywhere.

 

"Friends in Low Places" an oldie but a goodie by Garth Brooks. "Papa Loved Mama"

 

"Fast As You", "Guitars, Cadillacs" "Honky Tonk Man" by Dwight Yoakam. Three songs with different tempos and feels. Check out "Things we Said Today" for a great bassline, it ain't really country, but it's a fun song FYI.

 

"Texas Women" by Hank Jr. A swing feel to the root fifth.

 

"All NIght Long" By Montgomery Gentry

 

"Boot Scootin' Boogie" mentioned earlier, but it is a crowd pleaser.

 

"Strokin'" by Clarence Carter, this is the anti-country song, yet it became a HUGE line dance hit, it's funky like your momma done forgot.

 

Good luck.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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Maybe there's pockets in our area where it does well.
Have you ever tried downriver, also sometimes referred to tongue-in-cheek as "Taylor-tucky"? ;)

 

I've played new country on the eastside. Even at Memphis Smoke (known more as a place for blues). And there were plenty of people at the Downtown Hoedown.

 

Which leads to ...

Just find out what fills the club you want to play.

 

As far as what to play, Ross, let me see if I still have a setlist at home tonight.

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No one is going to dance to a slow blues. You need a listening audience for that.

Yes, a blues band may be better for festivals and such.

 

I know I talked with one blues band around here that was complaining they could barely get any gigs. Granted they probably weren't looking at the right venues, but still I think it would be hard to break into the blues market here.

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Like I said in the OP I am brainstorming. I am thinking right now that (pick one):

1) We need to be very selective in venue selection

2) Ride the edge of blues and rock a little closer

3) Be two different bands depending on venue

4) Create a set list that is a mix of different styles yet keeps everyones interest. Country rock, classic rock, blues

1) Yes. And also be prepared with the reality of playing fewer gigs per year than your Classic rock band.

2) No. You'll wind up back at blues-based rock which overlaps too much with Classic rock.

3) Yes. Play 4 gigs a year as a blues band and as many other gigs as you want as another band (using a different name).

4) Depends. This is the "variety" path. Great if you want to do weddings, corporate functions, etc. I wouldn't recommend it in a bar setting, although the "country" band I was in was more of a variety band: new country (50%), motown, pop and rock. It worked somewhat, I think, because it was mostly party songs from each genre. I always had a hard time trying to figure out how to market it, though.

 

In summary, keep the blues band. (You've put too much effort into it to just scrap it.) Play 4 times a year; push the festivals. With the same lineup create another project to play more gigs throughout the year. But do your homework, as has been suggested, to make sure there will be venues that want to hire the new project.

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I like the idea of catering to the crowd. The headliner from last Saturday's gig actually wrote their set list down about 5 minutes before they got on stage, so I guess they waited to see what kind of crowd they had. And it worked, cos they got the most response (it helps that they brought the most fans, and have loud fans at that).

 

I still have vague plans for a trio setting, in which we'd build a set list consisting of anything between the '50s and today, played to our strenghts. This could lead to interesting jams on stage and more versatile gigs. But it takes a lot of work and dedication, I would imagine ...

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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'Cadillac Ranch' is a good one, as well. When I was playing guitar in a college band we played a lot of parties and dances and that one always got 'em up on the floor. It was a small agricultural college in a small farm community up north, and it seemed like the good old Southern Rock stuff was always a hit... and oddly enough anything AC~DC was another good choice...

 

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IMHO, there are 3 main genres of "country rock": (1) classic C&W rock from like 1968 to 1978 (Marshall Tucker, early Eagles, Moby Grape, Poco); (2) modern country pop/rock (Trick Pony, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban) and (3) Southern Rock (Allman Bros, 38 Special, Blackfoot, Skynyrd).

 

With exceptions, there are different age groups that are into these genres (I'm age 63 and I like and play all 3 genres). If I were going to play a bar I'd go there in advance and see what the patrons are dancing to. If it was a road trip, I'd phone ahead and ask a bartender what kind of music is popular there.

"99 And 1/2 Just Won't Do"
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Does country and country rock fill bar venues?... I am clueless...

I left out the other part of the post because I'm not much about country. I know people here feel that southern rock is a close cousin - I don't disagree, it's just not a line I cross myself.

 

As to your question - allow me some latitude. I'm guessing that your band will not uncover the "next big draw" for your area.

Given that, you need to spend the next few weekends visiting venues and seeing what plays and what doesn't. Find a country line dance course and call the teacher - where do they go on Saturday night?

 

I think you need to research to get the answer. You can shift your set as suggested, but that's "hit or miss".

 

In my area, there is a market for blues. It is a small market, but it is there. And there is no question that there are plenty of shuffles and uptempo songs that fit the genre. Slow blues (unless you've got a real player's crowd or lots of relatives) is fast death - in my opinion.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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