Indie Kats and Categories

Takin' a bite out of the Rockabilly Market

I used to think of myself as a folk singer.  I sang the old Western cowboy tunes like, “When the Work’s all Done this Fall,” “Tyin’ Knots in the Devils Tail,” “The Lavender Cowboy,” or such standards as “Home on the range,” and “Red River Valley.”  Then later, I shifted my play-list and I realized that what I did was more Country than Western, but still fit into a Country/Western category.

Remember that this was in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and music was just beginning to get crammed into slots that were more comfortable for radio marketeers to sell advertising.  So in my mix of songs were some Rock ‘N’ Roll and Rockabilly numbers that seemed to fit, albeit in a strange way.  Even though I never said that is what I was doing, I could rock-up just about any folk song and make it Rockabilly.  It was also before Indie Music became a category in an of itself, and a metaphor for the struggle by honest, true-to-the-music, musicians against the monopoly main-stream Record Labels have on the industry.

I now term my music Americana, a designation that wasn’t available to me, or anyone else, back when I was coming up in music.  I still think of myself as a Rockabilly as well as a Honky Tonker, and I certainly consider myself more Country now than Western, but those influences remain.

What is interesting is that the Rockabilly scene is so amped up now that the old-time Rockabilly seems like just Country that is played a little faster than usual.  And that is why I am now calling what I do Americana.  I don’t think I’ll ever not be a Rockabilly, but with Cow Punk, Psychobilly, and the like, my style or Rockabilly just isn’t anymore.

Am I sad?  No.  Am I upset?  No.  Why?  Because the one thing that has not changed is my audience’s response to my performances.  They still get excited, they still love what I do.  So, call me what you will, I am still a Rockabilly.  Categories don’t seem to change much.  I suppose, in the end, I’m an Indie Kat, but just screw the categories!

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