This weekend I was able to go home to San Angelo with some friends and visit for a couple days, which is always refreshing and serves as a way to get away from school for a little bit. It was the last weekend of the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, and we didn’t want to miss out on all the fun.
Unfortunately, since tickets sell out several weeks in advance, I wasn’t able to attend the actual rodeo performance. As disappointing as that was, at least I was still able to take part in something rodeo-related. One of my best friends, Case Hardin, started a country music band after we graduated high school, and since then he has made a name for himself, playing shows at dance halls all over the state. The past two years he has played shows during rodeo season in what is collectively known as “the beer barn”. Located directly next to the coliseum where the rodeo is held, the beer barn is where people go to, well, drink beer before and after the rodeo. It’s a non-insulated wooden building, includes a stage and a dance floor, and it has no seats or tables. Instead, everyone packs in as tightly as possible and those remaining gather outside.
While it may sound like an unpleasant place, what makes it awesome is the music. What is usually a run-of-the-mill shack basically in the middle of nowhere comes to life as an authentic dance hall. Case played for three hours to an audience of hundreds of rodeo-goers, and the dance floor was filled during every song. Case, a bona fide fan of traditional/neotraditional country music, performed covers of singers like George Strait, Tracy Byrd, and Conway Twitty, and he mixed in some western swing with songs from Bob Wills. Backed by his band, which simply includes a guitar, bass guitar, steel guitar, and drums, Case keeps the spirit of traditional country music alive with his twang and his salutes to legends past. I knew when I saw him sing George Strait’s “Heartland” in the 4th grade talent show that Case was destined to be a country music performer. Case’s next show is March 14th at the London Dance Hall in London, Texas, which is considered to be the oldest dance hall in Texas. It’s awesome to see one of my good friends experience some success, and it was great to be able to catch one of his shows.
3 Responses to Keeping Traditional Country Music Alive
First and foremost, I’m so incredibly jealous that San Angelo has such a cool venue like this. I think a lot of traditional artists probably got their start by performing at small venues for a crowd that’s really just out to dance and have a good time. Case Hardin seems to fit the bill of an authentic country artist. His voice is incredible, particularly for someone so young. He sounds very professional and his band only adds to his authenticity. In addition, he also has what has been defined as the cowboy look (boots and jeans and a cowboy hat). While this was cemented in the Cowboy Country of the 1930s and 40s, its carried through to todays music and performers. I look forward to Case becoming something of a Texas Country star in the future, he sounds great!
I think my favorite part of your post is your mentioning that you knew when you saw Case perform in the fourth grade that he would be a country star. That’s the kind of thing you hear people see on documentaries about famous artists. I just Googled “Case Hardin” thinking I might catch him in Austin or something, but what I found is someone from the UK with that same name who also seems to be a singer. Hope that doesn’t case him troubles as he gets more famous!
First of all, that’s really awesome that you know someone who is a really talented musician and country singer. I’ve only listened to the one song by Case that you posted, but he certainly seems like he’s on the right track to becoming a great country star. He’s got the voice and the look down, and his band is really talented as well. Second, I’ve actually heard of the “Beer Barn” in San Angelo, as I have some family that lives out there and they go out to the rodeo every year. It sounds like a great venue for country musicians to play at and I hope I get the chance to go visit it one day.