Hurricane USA

This morning I awoke to a changed world. In a week full of terror and chaos, yesterday was all about Pokemon, a simple break in an un-ending string of police lives and black lives and guns and politics and terror. A hurricane of terror cascading its dark waves and world of destruction upon every God forsaken soul in this land that I love. Yesterday was one thing, but this morning was entirely different. 

I admittedly spend most of my time in my room, in bed, with Netflix and my puppies and I am perfectly content to ignore the entire universe. I work from home and in the literal middle of the night so my human interaction is kept to a minimum. Most of my days start with a hearty scroll on Facebook and a check-in with my friends across this country on messenger. Today my morning routine was no different, but what I saw was. A clear cut millennial generational outpouring of the idea that “It doesn’t matter why or how or who, the details are moot on the Dallas mass shooting as people are dead and dying and Lady Liberty is bleeding out and the only bandage to stop the hemorrhaging is peace and love.” A stark difference from what I would see in the rest of my day.

As my day commenced in the wake of an act of terror in my backyard (if you don’t consider Dallas an act of terror then you need to promptly acquire a dictionary,) I had errands to run and lunch to have with my boyfriend so I left my cocoon for a few hours. Mistake. 

We ate lunch at a local cafe. One of those homestyle havens with 10 tables and 10 menu items and the same gum on the floor since 1985. On this particular day Montgomery Street Cafe was filled with a healthy subset of Fort Worth upper-middle class folks. White business men talking stocks, young couples with young children, a teenaged black dishwasher from Paris Cafe on break and us. Within the hour that I inhaled my cafeteria style mac-n-cheese and homemade mashed potatoes I overheard not a single conversation about the events of last night in Dallas. Waiters talking vacations to Chicago with obvious regulars and smiling at toddlers being fed by their moms. Life was still going on despite the hurricane of hell swirling just 30 miles to the east. Peacefully and beautifully, life moved on. It continued for us, no death, no tragedy, just people eating lunch in a diner, but somehow a different world.

I don’t make enough money to qualify for Obamacare. Read that again, a privileged white female, born in to a staunchly Republican family, highly educated and working two jobs, I’m still too poor to qualify for national health insurance. As an effect of my unhealthy lot in life and my lack of Obamacare I spend a lot of time in government healthcare facilities. For me, today, this meant picking up my medication at the local John Peter Smith pharmacy. If you’ve never spent time in a government healthcare facility, let me tell you, it will both give you a healthy sampling of the variety of individuals in your community and infuriate you simultaneously (which I must add are completely unrelated.)

On this particular day I walked in to a line of about five or six people waiting on their medications. A young white woman in her mid-twenties, a mid-thirties black woman dressed in her Academy Sports uniform, an older disabled Mexican gentleman and a middle-aged white woman sitting to my right, all stuck in a 20×20 room for the same purpose with the news channel fixated on the Dallas press conference and prayer vigil happening live. As I approach the line I find that the middle-aged white woman is holding court on current events, which is where things get interesting. She waxes un-poetic about her previous resume experience working in convenience stores and her disagreement with cops getting free coffee and sodas when they’re on duty. She continues with her distaste for the way the cases in both Minnesota and Louisiana are being handled. In her opinion both of these officers should be in prison, not on administrative leave, because “cops are no better or different than the rest of us.” It stopped me in my tracks as I felt the lava boiling up from my belly.

“Are you going to put on a flack jacket and protect my life and your freedom to say the shit you’re saying right now?” I hear myself say unapologetically. Of course her immediate response was a hearty, “Yes!” but I can assure you this woman was in no situation to don police gear. The conversation shifted after that, except for her to say how great America is because we can have differences of opinions exactly like this. Thank you middle-aged white lady, but the First Amendment granted me that freedom not your impromptu pharmacy court of order. 

Alas, middle-aged white lady was not done holding court. Next on the docket was race. Lucky for me, thirty-something black woman took that one on, explaining that “race is an issue that is not going away and unfortunately, although she was raised to treat everyone equally, that’s where America is at right now.” I couldn’t have said that one better myself. Logic was obviously in short supply with judge and jury middle-aged white lady, because the next thing that came out of her mouth was “Why Dallas? Nothing even happened here, they should’ve shot the officers in the other states if they wanted justice.” Again, belly lava erupted out of my mouth.

“So now we’re condoning murder?!” Silence. Not another word from your honor middle-aged white lady. As I went to leave the pharmacy I heard the Mexican gentleman sit down and say, “You know none of those shooters had faith. I know that because if they were filled with the holy spirit they never could’ve done something like that.” After all of this rhetoric I left there a changed woman in a changed world.

I tell you these stories because I want you to see a tiny glimpse of what I saw today; opinionated, often uneducated, unsettled, terrified Americans who are far more a part of the problem than a legitimate solution for the storm we are all enduring. It’s unsettling, massively unsettling, to hear these opinions and “solutions” from a portion of a generation different from my own. An extremely striated gap between the older and younger, blacks and whites, financially stable and less so, but I digress.

As Texans and citizens of Dallas/Fort Worth our world changed today. Our peace and our home was threatened and we are far more a part of the problem as a nation than we a part of the solution. Conversely, I also saw a rainbow emerge in this unending monsoon. I saw a brief, yet solid, eye in the commotion, a united outpouring for love and peace and understanding. But, outpourings don’t create change, just as armchair activists and keyboard warriors don’t have any real bearing on the social and political grievances we are all bearing as a country currently.

Peace and love reigned supreme today, at least in my tiny universe, but the nagging opinions of the economically abused, wronged and just plain hateful will continously be thorn in the side of any progress for a utopian society. One thing is for sure in all of my adventures today, both in cyber space and reality, if we do not present a united front to this storm we might as well just drown ourselves. This is Hurricane USA and we created it and now we don’t know how to stop it and that’s a grim outlook no matter how much sunshiny peace and love you seek.

The Scene: A Shift

Five years ago I started impatiently waiting for a turnover in Texas Country music. At the time, it was over saturated, over populated by “the next big thing” in every small town from DFW to Del Rio and talent was playing hide-n-seek with quality music content. I was young, ready to go out and ready for satiable music and good quality shows and they just simply didn’t exist. I was bored with the idea that I could see the same artist that I adored every weekend, because that’s how close and how often they were playing around me. So I waited. And I waited some more.

And then five long years later, but just like that all at once, the earth seemed to shift and new, fresh, amazing music and artists and talent were born. And I fell in love with The Scene all over again. 

Much like myself, Cleto Cordero of Flatland Cavalry (out of Lubbock) has known love and passion, and although at 23 his fresh face doesn’t show it, there’s pain in his words and his songs reach the heights and depths of the emotional spectrum with amazing accuracy. When “No Shade of Green” comes on it legitimately stops me in my tracks no matter what I’m doing. It’s raw, it’s real, you feel like you are the girl in the song and isn’t that the point of music? To take you away for the two and a half minutes you’re captivated by the lyrics and rhythm. Artists like Cleto ARE the shift I’ve been waiting for in this scene. If you have a chance to catch this band, get off your ass and GO!
 

 

 
Blue Water Highway Band from Galveston also lies on that fault line. Causing an earthquake with their six piece multi-instrumental and multi-gender harmonizing masterpieces like current single, “Medicine Man.” They legitimately took my breath away over the weekend and that was with only the three piece. I’m jumping out of my skin to see a full band show with stand-up bass, accordion, mandolin. I mean, how can you go wrong there? This band is going places, get in while they’re on the ground floor if you want to watch them rise to the top.
 
  

Don’t let it be lost on you that BOTH   Flatland Cavalry and Blue Water Highway Band have a female member among their ranks. Keith Hill’s girls in country music scandal earlier this year…

http://tasteofcountry.com/radio-consultant-take-females-out-of-rotation-at-country-radio/ 

….caused everyone in the girl authority of country music from Martina to Miranda to give them a little piece of their mind. Down here our Texas girls were fighting back with their own brand of a one-two-punch, like SunnySweeney’s  “Breaking Up the Sausage Party” and Kacey Musgrave’s “Good ‘ol Boys Club.” With all of that being said, it could not feel better to see these ladies rockin’ it on stage. 

  

Big things are ahead for this scene like we’ve never seen before. We’re trimming the fat and finding some true, raw talent that isn’t being pigeon holed as “Texas Country” or “Red Dirt” it’s just good fucking music that we can all appreciate and enjoy. 

Listening to:

Flatland Cavalry

  1. No Shade of Green
  2. Love Me in the Water

Blue Water Highway Band

  1. Medicine Man

Kacey Musgraves

  1. Dime Store Cowgirl
  2. Pageant Material