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Keep On The Sunny Side

He Has Risen.

No, not our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but Dwight Yoakam. At the risk of sacrilege, I make this observation in light of my personal timetable. “We all have it coming,” to quote the great Lord Eastwood (hallowed be thy name.) But it’s in how and when we have it coming that things get interesting. I had my life (or what passed as such) uprooted some time after switching into double-digits in the 2000s. Light (read “death”) shines at the end of every tunnel and that seismic shift kicked in about two years back. But less than a year into this new chapter, asses were kicked again in the form of a pesky virus sweeping the land. Back inside I went, feet and head first. None of this is terribly fascinating, but it is a lead-in to Mr. Yoakam.

Somewhere in that dark valley, round about four years ago, I went to a show in Saratoga. I couldn’t steal away back then for more than a day at a time, but I made a habit of it for eight or nine Yoakam shows over the course of those troubled years. I was looking for something consistent, and having modeled the Bob Dylan “tour always or die” theme, Dwight was it. To Stockton I went (and Sacramento, and Sonoma, and Sparks, and San Francisco, and New York, and so on.) All short trips, all greatly appreciated. Funny how those old cliches stand up: life never burns so brightly as in the face of death.

But even a balding, Kentucky crooner isn’t oblivious to a worldwide pandemic. Dwight’s roadshow packed it in about a year back. He seemingly made decent use of the time, getting hitched and having a late-life first child. (I was hoping they’d name the lad “Hoakam”, but alas, no dice.) But what would become of me, you’re all asking. A year came and went: riots, protests, contested elections, and three thoroughly uninteresting sports seasons. A vaccine appeared on the horizon. I fell in line despite hesitation (hey, if they can’t get the mask thing straight what good can come of letting them inject something in my arm?) But still we were told “don’t blink .. don’t leave the house without your rubbers .. don’t forget to check your privilege ..” etc etc.

Where am I going with this, other than revealing a likely permanent sabbatical from what used to be questionable writing skills? OK, OK ..

I’m scanning Youtube last night, as I’m prone to do, and what should come up in my feed? Mr. Yoakam, back on the road in wide-open Texas, restoring some semblance of order to my universe. He’s apparently chucked the Chuck Berry tribute “Little Queenie” for an opening number and decided to go with the Ada Blenkhorn 1899 traditional (popularized in 1928 by the Carter Family) “Keep On The Sunny Side.” But in true cowpunk fashion, he’s doing an ass-kicker, redneck version that seems to say “hey, if you can’t manage the real deal, motor through.” In any case, here is a link to the video that put a smile on my face (“Sunny Side” is the first number.) As Herve Villechaize once said, “it’s the little things.” (P.S. : What kind of M&Ms does Tattoo eat? — The plain! The plain!!)


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