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Friday, May 12, 2006

Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams



I can't remember the last time I bought music by anyone born after 1850 . . .about the closest is Le Carneval Des Animaux by Camille Saint-Saens (b. 1835).

I have never purchased country music. Never.

But a week ago on the Prairie Home Companion I heard music that made it seem as if my ears were hearing for the first time. More than music, I heard originality. I heard live instruments, played by real hands, in touch with real creative minds. I heard enthusiasm. I heard a group of guys just having fun making music.

I wanted to stop my car to get out and dance in the road.

The group is Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams, a 'western swing' band from Fort Collins, Colo., that is "passionately committed to playing real country music" (from their website, www.hibeams.com).

Within days I had ordered and received their first (and, to date, only) CD. When it arrived, I listened and was hooked.

The CD is a marvelous mix of pure country music, a few western-style waltzes, laced with a yodel here, a love song there, and such quality as few musicians outside the classical world possess.

My favorites?

I'm partial to "Billings Bop," an all instrumental piece where all that's missing is a barn full of cowboys and cowgirls dancing the evening away.

I also like "Let's Make Believe." This is a love song. In the back of my mind I pictured Karen and me out under the western moon, slow-waltzing in the star-shine with an audience of tumbleweed and coyotes.

For fun, there's "(My Other Car's An) Appaloosa." The song's the story of a city-bound cowboy who trades his weekday suit for the weekend life of a cowboy. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics speak to anyone confined to the city life, longing for the open spaces of the great west.

The whole CD is great.

The Hi-Beams website reveals one more subtle thing about them that makes their music even more significant. Their music is available through local, independent music stores and vendors. They are not a big-box operation.

Keeping it real in their music and in their business. What a deal.

I hope you'll check out Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams on their website, www.hibeams.com. You'll be able to listen to "Appaloosa" there and link to purchasing information. You won't regret it.

1 comment:

Philippa said...

I'm not a country fan. My daughter is though. I just can't get into it.

But I appreciate the sentiment of your post regarding, "real people, real music." I was just reading on Touchstone Magazine's blog "Mere Comments" about women being "real" women and men being "real men" written by Dr. Esolen. Your post reminded me of that.

Thanks!

PS: How goes the journey to Orthodoxy?