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.4. ~~eh .1* -41e’ac.7 pi ;me?. AUSTIN’S MOST COMPLETE INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER IS MOVING TO NEW OFFICES MARCH 1. WE’VE TAKEN 7,000 SQUARE FEET TO HOUSE 356 NEW DIGITAL HIGH-SPEED PHONE LINES. A hermit with his ax from Oklahoma or Nebraska. If you want to see and hear a touring bandthe meat and potatoes of the music industry, country or otherwiseyou’ve got to go to town, which means to a tiny beerand-bands dive, Railroad Blues, in Alpine. Since that’s 160 miles round trip, most of our music is locally generated. And if not all, or even very much of it, is what you’re in the habit of calling country music, you can’t help but hear how deeply it’s rooted in its place. That girl behind the keyboards is a teacher at the local one-size-fits-all school that opened just last year. That guy strangling the Telecaster is the local hermit, and my nearest neighbor. That drummer plays cause he’s the only drummer around, but because he’s the only one who can hit a convincingly Latin beat. The mariachis from across the border sit in during the second set, and the vocals are as likely to carry a Mexican trill as any down-home twang. It’s the kind of border-straddling country music appreciated and embraced by Gilmore and Ely and Hancock and Fromholz, et al., not to mention the anonymous locals \(well, not anonymous…if you’re out that way, ask after Laird Considine, Clem, Dave Lanman, and whatever of Not because it fits any of the obyious or accepted definitions, but because it reflects Dimitri Gerasimou the character of the country that engulfs it and gives it room to spread out: political boundaries, personal defiance of same, two-way stylistic migrations, community, and land that, even arid, holds roots tight. Maybe it’s no coincidence that the two concepts, the musical and the geographic, share a word. Maybe country music, most broadly defined, is music that springs from a country landscape, music with a regional base and a regional basis. Maybe country music, to the extent that it’s distinct from other categories, is music that’s planted, and grows, in a particular patch of earth. Postscript: Circumstances beyond this writer’s extremely limited and dwindling control have, since the penning of this essay, led to my surely temporary abandonment of Terlingua’s dry climes for the familiarly swampy homestead of Houston, whose populace, while on occasion mustering some reasonable approximations of country music, wouldn’t know country life if it slithered up and bit it on its collectively pasty ass. Brad Tyer is a freelance writer who can’t decide where the hell to live, except that it has to be in Texas. A shorter version of this essay originally appeared in No Depression, a bi-monthly magazine covering alternative-country music. tv\(zzLe I t at ,0,\(2 STARTING MARCH 15: MORE SPEED MORE POWER MORE FLEXIBILITY LOW FLAT-RATE PRICING The Eden Matrix OUR NEW PHYSICAL ADDRESS: LITTLEFIELD BUILDING 106 E. SIXTH STREET, SUITE 210 AUSTIN, TX 78701 VOICE: 512.478.9900 FAX: 512.478.9934 WORLDW SE DES GN: MARCH 28, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31