November 28, 2011

My Introduction to what was Ragweed

The best part about starting this blog has been going back and rediscovering the love I have for music in general, but especially the songs and artists that have helped make my passion grow.  Today I’ll review how one band truly opened my eyes to what else was out there.

In 2002 I was graduating college (albeit a few years late) and as a gift I received a ticket to what was then known as “The Pat Green and Cory Morrow Festival” in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  I was a casual fan of both the headliners and knew of a few of the other performing bands through friends of mine.  My expectations were small; ski, have a few drinks, meet some interesting people, and hear a few country songs.  Not a bad week, huh?

Part of my welcome packet contained flyers for different shows and a three song CD sampler that I am sure is long out of date by now. The name on the sampler was strange and certainly didn’t sound very country, and neither did the guys on the cover.  I didn’t pay it much mind, but kept hearing a slow building buzz the entire week about this band that virtually everyone was there to see and I had no clue whom they were.  The band in question proceeded to turn my musical world right side up and open the door to a flood of new artists that I still follow to this day.  The band was Cross Canadian Ragweed and though they are no more…they will always be music royalty around Texas. 

The CD sampler included “17” and ‘Don’t Need You”, which would not only go on to be staples of their set lists, but also spawned music videos.  The third, “Suicide Blues”, was also a mainstay of the set lists to a smaller degree.  The songs were part the Self-Titled/ Purple album that came out shortly after the Music Fest, an album that seemed to push them further into the stratosphere of national notoriety. 

What really got my attention was my first live show with the Boys.  After a week full of build-up they were closing out the festival in the ballroom of the main hotel in town.  I was told to get there early or probably miss out due to crowds.  All this excitement and talk, and seeing the faces of the fans virtually salivating led me to believe I was about to see something special, and did I ever.  I can now only wish I had a set list from that night, mainly just to see how different it was from their later years and to see the progression they took.  Stone Temple Pilots’ “Dead and Bloated” blared through the speakers and greeted Ragweed to the stage. And they handled the rest…knocking the socks off any and all comers and doing what Cody now likes to refer as “melting the people’s face off”.  It was like seeing a puppeteer pull the strings and having everything and everybody go right along with him.  The one song I do remember seeing was “Boys From Oklahoma”, which I know was a disdained song for them but on this night seeing every other lead singer do their own verse and turning the song into a 15 minute opus was truly special.  To see the obvious bond that this new-to-me-band had with all the other performers just further emphasized I was in the right place at the right time to see something special. 

It could not have been a better way to close out what become my new love of all things Texas Country (and Oklahoma, I guess).  The festival was never officially renamed “Skiing with Ragweed” or anything like that, but there is no doubt that after that trip, they owned that festival along with any other stage they touched.  I look forward to reaching into the vaults and discussing some other albums by Ragweed as well the brilliant work that is being done by the Departed, Cody’s new band.

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