Life lately has been at full steam ahead having come home from a weekend tour in Arizona right into a week of school concerts and graduations and then right back on tour this weekend to Torrey, Utah and then to Craig, Colorado. I've got chicken enchiladas to make for my daughters graduation party and a song to learn by 4pm today to perform for the Utah Heritage Tour and have no time at all to blog....but oh well, I have something I want to talk about.
I want to talk about being an artist in Western music. Folks all the time are asking how things are going with my country music career. I reply, "Well, I don't know about country music, but my western music career is goin' great." I then am asked what the difference is between western music and country music and I give them this tongue in cheek reply..."Country music is for all those East of the Mississippi and is about drinking and divorce. Western music is for all of us West of the Mississippi and is about cows and cowboys." I realize this is a trite reply. I just don't think folks get what western music is about until they hear it and experience it. It's not uncommon for a new fan to come up to me after a concert and say, "Wow, if this is Western music, then I love it."
Brad and I spend many hours every week booking shows, traveling and I alone spend many hours a week rehearsing and song-writing. I plan on spending many more years of my life as a professional entertainer in Western music and look forward to the journey, but a good friend said something this weekend that has completely changed the way I look at my music career. My wise friend reminded me that no artist is bound by the genre they are in. Folks don't come to my shows because I am a Western artist. People buy tickets because they want to hear an artist named Mary Kaye.
Think about John Denver. What is his music? Is it country? Is it pop? What about Patsy Cline or even Adele? These are all genre-bending artists who defy the boxes others wish to wrap them in. Music that moves people goes beyond genre and becomes something as unique as the individual who creates it. It takes courage to create. It takes guts to get up on stage and be vulnerable and real, but it's a good feeling to touch lives and connect with people. We have to be determined to live beyond the labels and be our authentic selves.
So...in a couple of hours after I grate the cheese for the enchiladas, I'm going to pull on my boots and my favorite petticoat and go strum my guitar and do my thing. I'm giving them something special. I'm giving me. My music and my heart. That's all any of us can give if we're brave enough to bend beyond the labels.