Dear John: What Started the Vintage Country/Honky-Tonk Scene In Seattle?

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Side Saddle plays SW's Reverb Local Music Festival along with 50 other local bands, on October 6.
John Roderick is the singer and songwriter responsible for The Long Winters, a motivational speaker, elder statesman, and role model. He tweets @johnroderick.

Dear John: What started the vintage country / honky-tonk scene in Seattle? When and where did it start and what bands and/or scenes or groups contributed to it getting popular? -- Brooke Asbury, Side Saddle

Roderick: Many years ago there were men and women, young folk, who walked the land in cowboy shirts and horn-rimmed glasses, back when you could only find those things at Goodwill. It was a long time ago, and no one knows when they first arrived. They weren't being ironic, there was nothing ironic about them. They believed in music, American music, and they liked their hair greasy and their beer in cans. They worked on their own motorcycles. The real ones drove Fords. They listened to old-fashioned music and made new music that sounded old-fashioned but like it was powered by a harsher cut of trucker speed. These folk blurred the line between punk rock and cowboy; they were both, and neither. They were The Outsiders.

The commander thinks aloud.
Then, the great fashion drought hit the Americas. All the fashions had been done, so younger kids just started taking fashions from everywhere and glomming them together. Pretty soon all kinds of people were wearing cowboy shirts and horn-rimmed glasses, ones they bought new at American Eagle outfitters. Very few of them worked on their own motorcycles, and they were all strumming acoustic guitars and making old-fashioned music that sounded like city-folk taking turns farting on a banjo. The "lifestyle" went out of it, and pretty soon it was just another style.

Somewhere on the outskirts of Georgetown there are a few old stragglers hanging on, but they can't hold back the tide. Every third kid on Capitol Hill looks like a sharecropper from Oklahoma now, and none of them would even consider driving a Ford.

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