» Who: JP Parsons and the American Buckaroos
» When: Oct. 29, 8 p.m.
» Where: Bristol Brewery, 41 Piedmont Ave., Bristol, Va.
» Admission: Free
» Info: 276-608-1220
» Web, audio and video: www.facebook.com/JPParsonsMusic
Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2016 10:30 am | Updated: 3:18 pm, Thu Oct 27, 2016.
BY TOM NETHERLAND SPECIAL TO THE HERALD COURIER
Buck Owens died a decade ago.
“(Nashville) don’t pay much attention to you while you’re living,” said Owens during a rare and lengthy interview shortly before he died, “but once you’re dead they love the hell out of you.”
With not a shovel nor coffin, Bristol’s JP Parsons and the American Bandwagon will dig up the music and look of the late Country Music Hall of Fame member.
For one night only, Parsons will step as best he can into Owens’ rhinestones sparkling country music on Oct. 29 at Bristol Brewery in Bristol, Virginia. He’ll play Owens. His band will become the Buckaroos. Altogether, make welcome JP Parsons and the American Buckaroos.
“As soon as Buck Owens’ name came up, these big grins were up on the band’s faces,” said Parsons. “They were like, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah!”
Parsons booked the show about three months ago. He and the band then devised a set, which as of now includes 11 of Owens’ classics.
“I got with the people in the band, and we all had the same songs,” Parsons said. “We got help from Facebook. I put some of them up on Facebook, and we got a lot of comments.”
Owens and the Buckaroos dominated America’s country music radio air-waves of the 1960s. Hits including 1963’s “Act Naturally” and 1965’s “I’ve Got A Tiger by the Tail” provided the foundation upon which Owens’ legend was built.
“He had the best band in those days,” said the late Jimmy Dean, “bar none.”
Parsons will fill the role of Owens. Quentin Horton will man a Fender Telecaster in place of guitarist Don Rich. Bass guitarist Matt Osborne steps in for Doyle Holly. Scott Thomas slides in on the drum kit in place of Willie Cantu. Evie Andrus replaces Tom Brumley’s pedal steel guitar with her fiddle.
“It’s gonna be pretty accurate,” Parsons said. “We’ll do a normal set for an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. There will be a costume contest that’s longer than the typical intermission. We’ll close out with the Buck Owens set.”
Brand their task as difficult. To summon a sound as unique as Owens’ slice of country’s Bakersfield Sound — hard country, biting steel, crisp lyrics and Telecaster leads to match, demands dedication and love.
It’s deceptively simple but enormously affective.
“It’s something like a locomotive running through your house,” Owens said. “It has a lot of drive and a lot of push, a lot of raw energy, raw music.”
Take Owens’ 1964 steel-soaked recording of Hank Cochran’s “A-11.” It wasn’t a hit for Owens, but it classifies as a classic as well as one of Owens’ “raw” songs chosen by Parsons to perform.
“We’ll do ‘My Heart Skips A Beat,’ “Love’s Gonna Live Here,’…” Parsons said in detailing their set list.
Count on edge.
Parsons, whose own music doesn’t exactly classify as country a la Owens, embodies a scarred and scathed feel within the bulk of his own music. Odes including “A Better Man” and “Poets & Prophets” do not evoke Owens’ style at all, but they do meet upon a point of raw conviction.
“I had more of an edge on my music,” Owens said. “Maybe it wasn’t so smooth, slick and syrupy. It was just real country music.”
From a man named JP and a band renamed the American Buckaroos, for one precious night in the Birthplace of Country Music, Owens’ real country music will live again. May the neon twinkle and the rhinestones shine.
“I’ve always gone to Buck Owens when I think of good country music,” Parsons said. “It’s happy music. Like with ‘My Heart Skips A Beat.’ How can you not love that?”