Rhinofy-Blue Bandana

I’m a sucker for an acoustic guitar.

That’s right, in this electronic world of 0’s and 1’s, something natural, something evidencing humanity, grabs me and has me paying attention.

At least once a week, I cruise the Country playlists on Spotify. And it’s astounding how much of it’s formulaic, me-too crap. All about beer and trucks and… When I hear something different and it rings my bell, I don’t push the button to fast-forward, I listen.

She was dancin’ in a sundress under a Carolina sunset on the last night of MerleFest

Huh? Jerrod Niemann is singing about one of America’s hippest festivals, one people have been e-mailing me about for years, telling me it’s the one I can’t miss, the one that doesn’t fly on the mainstream radar?

Told me she ain’t missed one since the summer she turned eighteen

Used to be it was how big your record collection was, now it’s how many wristbands you’ve got, where you’ve been. It’s not only the Grateful Dead themselves who’ve come back, but their entire ethos.

She had a flower in her hair, a little smoke was in the air

Freedom. It’s what we all want, what we are all too uptight to pursue. If we don’t apply ourselves, work on our careers, we’re going to be left behind, broke down and busted on the side of the road. So we envy those who are willing to cast aside the precepts, to hedonistically pursue being alive.

We were chillin’ in some lawn chairs saying we wish we could’ve seen Woodstock

Don’t think the young don’t envy the oldsters, their ability to see not only Zeppelin, but all the bands on that stage in the Catskills. They feel they missed out. On not only the music, but the experience.

Told me she was leaving in the morning, headed down to New Orleans
Said boy, you oughta come along and I know I shoulda gone

The last time I blew off my plans was when my buds knocked on my door at midnight and encouraged me to skip the LSAT to drive up to Montreal. Which I did. Saw a Truffaut movie and a border cop found a seed in the glove box of Hughes’s Biscayne on the way back. Sometimes I wish I was more free and easy, took more risks.

She’s a Bonnaroo baby, she’s Coachella crazy
She’ll be folking out in Newport, you’ve probably seen her before
Up at Lollapalooza, in the mud at Wakarusa
She’ll be at the Hangout down in Alabama
Just look for the girl in the blue bandana

And there you have a recitation of every famous festival in America today. And there are many. Not only the biggies, like Bonnaroo and Coachella, but Newport and Hangout. Listening makes you want to go, to have the music set you free. That’s what the festival promises, an escape from the way it is from Monday through Thursday. And here’s this woman who’s following the festivals like we used to follow the bands, from town to town, like Deadheads and Phish Heads.

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say the lyrics were overbaked, nearly lowest common denominator. But then there’s that sound… The dynamics from quiet to loud, the anthemic quality, rock and roll before it became harder-edged and left so many out. Country is a big tent, like the above-mentioned festivals. And it turns out we all want to go.

Where we’re the stars. Where we let our freak flags fly. Where we’re happy. So it’s no wonder the song closes with…

Now I’ve got a beat-up van and I’m drivin’ ‘cross this land
Lookin’ for a blue bandana

He’s chasing the dream. He wants that feeling back, of being free.

So do I.

And so do you.

We’re all looking for the girl in the blue bandana.

Rhinofy-Blue Bandana Spotify

Rhinofy-Blue Bandana YouTube

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