Nothing in this life is free. Good things come to those who work hard, and for me that includes pursuing my passion. I’m proud of my roots at home in Arkansas. It’s a great state with many traditions, and great people who contribute to the world, but “you’re always 17 in your hometown.”

Branching out to new horizons

No matter how many times I share this image, it still takes me back to the heart of my passion. Well #WorthTheFight

I could have continued my studies and finished a degree at the University of Arkansas, but there was always a desire to attend Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Most every cattle publication I saw had someone, in some manner, connected to the Agriculture programs at Ok State. As a kid I traveled across Highway 51 many times to attend the annual Bull Sale in Stillwater. Little did I know just how much I would gain moving to this town – which happens to be the home of Red Dirt music and many of my favorite bands.

My life hasn’t been the same and I haven’t looked back except to reflect on what I have learned. There are so many awesome things I have been able to experience in the world of Agriculture since making that move to Oklahoma – I never would have seen Wyoming, Texas, and now even Tennessee. But a deeper knowledge and passion isn’t the only thing I’ve gained. There some good tunes that came along.

Stillwater, Oklahoma and Red Dirt Roots

Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed at the R...
Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed at the Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe you’ve heard of Calffry at the Tumbleweed, or Cain’s Ballroom just down the road in Tulsa. These have been host to some of my favorite bands – Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue, No Justice, Turnpike Troubadours, Jason Boland, The Great Divide, Micky and the Motorcars and numerous others. No? Surely you’ve heard of Garth Brooks or The All-American Rejects?

Red Dirt music (often combined with Texas Country, just depends on which side of the Red River you find yourself) is a blend of Southern Rock, Americana, and Traditional country music. There’s no hard-core definition for it, other than it doesn’t belong to the big record labels of Nashville, Tennessee. None of that pop-country blend. It’s a regional sub-genre of country music that branches far and wide.

One of my favorite bands, one of the first I was exposed to was Cross Canadian Ragweed. With songs like Boys from Oklahoma, 17, and Cold Hearted Woman, ballads with long guitar solos, who wouldn’t love that stuff. Plus, those guys spent their early days right in Stillwater with lead singer Cody Canada, and band members Grady Cross, Randy Ragsdale, and Jeremy Plato.

In 2011 Cody and Jeremy formed a new band, Cody Canada and The Departed. These guys still have the classic roots of Red Dirt music, but with a refreshed sound. I’m pretty excited about the stuff they’re putting out.

It’s always Worth The Fight

All of this to say, I love Red Dirt/Texas Country music and I never would have found it and gained such a love and appreciation for it, had I not pursued my passion in Agriculture and explored new horizons. Now I have such a great life learning about the cattle community across the country and a complete iPod of tunes from a sub-genre of regional music that I absolutely love, won’t listen to much else.

Not saying if you pursue your passion, that you’ll find the best music in the world. But ya never know until you try! Believe me, it’s Worth The Fight!

Now for the highlight of the post…

Now I have to give credit to Carrie Mess (@dairycarrie) who inspired this blog post. Last year, from Wisconsin, she organized a hay drive to assist farmers and ranchers affected by the historic drought of 2011. Shannon Canada, who happens to be the wife of Cody Canada and manager of many of my favorite Texas/Red Dirt bands, was a huge help in these efforts, tweeting, Facebooking (yes, that’s a verb), and doing anything she could to spread the word to help the farmers in need.

Cody’s band, The Departed, is releasing a new single this week (which Carrie and I discovered yesterday, is very reminiscent of some Tom Petty) and I just have to share! It’s titled Worth The Fight. (Listen here or watch the video) And I have already pressed play and repeat several times. Look it up on all your music outlets, call it in to your radio stations (at least those who are aware of Texas Country), and enjoy.

Be sure to use the twitter hashtag #WorthTheFight and spread the word. There’s so many things in life worth fighting for, and good music should be one of them too.

Thanks Carrie for sharing some great tunes!

What is #WorthTheFight to you?

Lyrics to Worth The Fight by The Departed

What am I doin’
Same old place
Must be something
In my way

Gotta keep movin’
Can’t help myself
Just wanna be someone
Somewhere else

Got me wandering
Round all night
Hard to worry
If it’s worth the fight

Feel like burnin’
Down this town
Kickin’ and swinging
All the way down

Fast and pretty
Safe and sound
Sweet like cherry
Inside out

Kept on pushing
Till we got it right
Far from easy
But worth the fight

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