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Saturday, November 8, 2014

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Robert Banta
It happened like this...
Not exactly like this, but pretty much like this.
So anyway I hate these things. These "artist bio" things. I know I've got to have one or whatever, but it's so stupid. And they all sound so stupid. And I'm just getting started! And I'm supposed to make it sound like I wrote "Blood on the Tracks" or something. The only thing I have worth saying I say in the songs. The only thing I have worth doing I do on stage. The only thing about me that's worth a damn is the music. I have to believe that. I have to to keep going, because listen, trying to do this stuff is crazy. Anyway...
I was born and raised in Kentucky. Grew up on a family farm half-way between Cincinnati and Louisville. We were mainly a dairy farm when I was a little boy but the government had a big buy out of dairy farms in the 80s because the supply was way too high. So we did everything else. Our cash crop was tobacco, but we grew corn, wheat, soybeans, alfalfa hay, had beef cattle. Times were tough, but not that tough. My father was an accomplished farmer and shrewd businessman and my mother worked a good job in a doctor's office. He got killed when I was 16. I guess it all starts there, right?
Anyway, I played guitar and wrote songs. I'm glad I was born when I was. If it had been any later the schools would have tried to pump me full of ADHD meds. I was wild. My imagination was wild. All I had ever known was the farm, but I wrote songs about other planets and big cities and beautiful women (I sure as hell didn't know anything about that). My first gig was intermission at the Miss Henry County Pageant at the county fair. I wish could remember what songs I played. I wish I could remember who won... I got in my first band in college. The Zombie Cowboy Band. We were pretty good and I still think we could have done something. We all moved to Austin, TX together and imploded shortly thereafter, but not before I dropped like two grand in the recording studio. The breakup was mostly my fault. It was all my fault
Anyway, I stuck it out. For stubbornness really and in Austin you could strike sparks anyway. There was world class music being played somewhere every single night of the week. I had an old Triumph I rode around. It was great. Growling over the South Congress Bridge in the middle of the night, bullseye on the capital building. Doing 70 in the twisties on Lamar through Pease Park. Hitting the ton over the Pennybacker Bridge. Those were good times. I wasn't doing shit.
I put a hundred bands together trying to play the clubs that were my sanctuary. Ginny's Little Longhorn, The Continental Club, The Broken Spoke, The Hole in the Wall. I was playing old time country music and honky tonk and roots music because that's what people wanted and it was fun and I do love that kind of music. I thought that if I played exactly what they wanted to hear they'd come see me play. It didn't work. It never does. And it never will.
I got to do some pretty killer stuff, though. I played all those clubs I wanted to so bad. I got to play in France in 2009 at the Mirande Country Music Festival for like a million people (it might have been closer to like 10,000).
You see here's the thing. It doesn't matter what music I say I play. It doesn't matter if I say it's Country, or Roots, or Folk, or Americana, or Rap, or Metal or Whatever. It's going to be country because listen brother, I fucking AM country. You can take all the songs about pickup trucks and drinking beer and fishing and who the hell knows what else these knuckleheads sing about and let them blow away because they are dust. They are less than dust. They are the suggestion of dust.
I want country to go to the future. We can't go back to the past, as tempting as it is. We look back and we see our heroes and think it was different. It meant more. It was real. Listen man, there was plenty of shit back then too. If you don't change you die. Country will always be about day to day, regular people, real life shit. Falling in love, falling out of love, life, death, joy, pain, loss, the fallibility of the human condition. Country music has to be honest. Country music has to be real. The pickup trucks hell raisin' and ramblin' down the ole' dusty highway bit in 2014? Nope. It's different sides of the same coin. And that coin is the bullshit coin.
What was I supposed to be talking about? I play high energy, but heartfelt and thoughtful roots music. You can dance if you want to and I hope it will make you leave your world behind. I hope it makes people think. I hope it makes you feel something. I hope it changes your brain. Just listen to it already! Click Audio Bob at the top of the thing.


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111 E 6th St. Newport, KY 41071
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