I think that country music is the best kind of music for kids my age to listen to because the lyrics are not suggestive, and they do not promote violence just for the sake of violence like rap does. The lyrics talk about lost love, finding love, and the trials that love can cause.
Chris LeDoux is the greatest and most widely respected country singer because he is a true cowboy. He does not try to be something he isn't. He is just a down-to-earth, everyday cowboy who likes just a little bit of rock and roll.
Garth Brooks credits his success to a line in his first hit, "Much too young (to feel this dam* old), he sings ".... a worn out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze seem to be the only friends I've left at all." Garth even patterns his live shows after Chris' concerts. Charlie Daniels, one of oldest singers in country music, wrote a poem about him: Sing Me a Song, Mr. Rodeo Man.
Chris is the cowboy's cowboy. He triumphed over injury to win the saddle bronc world championships in 1976. His early songs are the stories of rodeo and cowboy life.
Chris isn't at home in the city and feels much more comfortable at home on his ranch in Kaycee, Wyoming. He sings in one of his songs, ".... If they ever saw a sunrise on a mountain morning or watched those cotton candy clouds go by then they'd know why I live beneath these western skies. I got peace of mind and elbow room, I love to smell the sage in bloom. Or catch a rainbow on my line. We've got county fairs and rodeos, and a better place for my kids to grow. Just turn 'em loose in the western summer time....."
He rodeoed for years, selling tapes made in a Wyoming motel room, songs written from the bed of his trailer on the back of his truck after rodeos. He loved the life on the road and when he became too broken up to ride anymore, he decided that he would try to stay on the road playing his music.
Chris LeDoux is very persistent. Even after being told by a publisher that there was no need for western-slanted material he kept going and even recorded 22 albums on his own before signing with a record company. The other 11 were with Capitol Nashville. His first album was released in 1972. Chris has put out 33 albums in the last 28 years. Yet his concerts are up-to-date and exciting. You will see people of all ages at one of his concerts. Grandparents, parents, teens and even little babies. Chris LeDoux is a self-taught man. He learned to play the guitar and the harmonica on his own, during the time he was winning little britches, high school state, high school nationals, and the intercollegiate championships.
At first he was more known for his rodeo legacy than his singing. He was even featured in the 1981 fall issue of Pro Rodeo Sports News.
Drawing on his first hand experience Chris spins a modern tale of the west, as clear and descriptive as any western novel written. Chris' songs range from country ballads to some country rock. One of his songs even tells kids that the use of Copenhagen is like a monkey on your back.
It has been said that Chris LeDoux has a real cowboy voice. He is just a tad bit gravelly with a western accent. With a voice like that it's easy to fall in love with all of his songs. When he sings about the trials of rodeo and the heartaches of love, you can tell by his voice that he has experienced all that he sings about. His love for his wife and family, the outdoors, ranching, and rodeo, all come through loud and clear in the songs he sings. It has also been said that Chris has a songwriters voice. Mike Corcoran Wrote in the Dallas Morning News, "It's strong yet vulnerable, like a well-worn pair of snakeskin boots. When he wraps his voice around tales of bucking broncs, you can almost feel the thrill, as well as the pain. The words of his cowboy songs seem to lounge in his throat for a glorious millisecond before they spring out like the truth.
He is the finest, brightest, and most brilliant songwriter to have ever picked up a pen and a guitar. All the words come to him effortlessly and endlessly. His music is about a world many have only seen in the movies, and others believed to be lost to history.
The rhythm of his music varies from song to song. He can sing an up-beat, fun loving song just as easily as he can sing a love song or country rock. Even though most of his listeners will never attend a rodeo, they can hear the crowd going wild, smell the riders fear, and feel the dust seeping into their jeans through one of his songs. One of his most loved and often played song is "Tougher than the rest". The song beautifully describes his love for his wife and tells her that even though he may not be the most handsome, most romantic, or have the most money he will always be tougher than the rest.
In 1986 "Running Through the Rain" was a Billboard pick and used on a commercial by the Ford Motor Company in several states. The song went "Just rollin' down that great American highway. With that morning sky lit up like a flame, chasin' dreams and followin' a rainbow. Like children running through the rain.
His biography was released in 1987, along with his 19th CD, both titled, "Gold Buckle Dreams". The Biography tells of his life on the rodeo circuit, the trials and tribulations he had to go through to become the wonderful singer he is now.
His 1988 release, Chris LeDoux and the Saddle Boogie Band, was called a "must" for every cowboys' record collection, by CashBox. Every song on this CD is awesome, there aren't very many CD's I find where I like every song. One song on the album tells of a young mans dreams of being a cowboy, and leaving his family to rodeo. Another fantastic song, "Look at you Girl", tells of a cowboy coming home to visit after being on the road for awhile, going to a dance and falling in love for the first time. One of his most treasured songs is on this CD. "Utah Tribute", tells of his appreciation for the fans in Utah who have been there for him since the beginning.
In 1989 Chris found himself a household name. Every one that listened to country music had to know who Chris LeDoux was. Another prime CD was released called "Powder River Home." On this CD was a song, "Blue Bonnet Blues", that was a Billboard and CashBox pick. He didn't have to wonder if there was anyone out there listening to his music. He got the recognition he deserved, but wasn't chasing. For Chris the love of singing is what he sings for, not for the fame, fortune or the money, unlike another singer out there. You see all these rappers, rock artists and R & B artists who sing for the money and the attention, Chris has never been like that.
His duet with Garth Brooks, "Whatcha gonna do with a cowboy," was nominated for a TNN/Music City News Award, a Grammy, and an Academy of Country Music Award. After being released in 1992 his CD, also titled, "Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy", went gold.
In 1993 he released another majestic CD titled "Under This Old Hat." He had somehow recorded another CD that was worthy of bringing a tear to the eyes. In this CD he sings a song, "She's Tough", which tells that his woman is "...tough even to stand by me when it all comes tumbling down. She's tough enough to steady me when I'm standing on shaky ground. When it comes to tenderness, buddy that's when she's at her best. When the going gets rough, she's tough."
In 1994 he released "Best of Chris LeDoux". Which had most of his cherished songs. The next year he released "Haywire". It was another triumphant CD. He later released another "Best of" CD, but this one was titled "Chris LeDoux Live."
He is a very diverse singer. He sings with old timers, like Charlie Daniels, a popular singer in country music; such as Garth Brooks; and on his 1999 release, "One Road Man", he sings "Bang A Drum" with rock icon Jon Bon Jovi.
He has been named by the press "...the last of true western song stylists." One reporter even wrote, "A real country singer singing real country music. What a concept." His legendary honesty and directness all make him adored by the press.
He has sold over $4 million worth of product since 1972. Him and his brother sold his albums out of the back of his truck after rodeos and out of booths after his concerts.
Another one of his prized songs is "Silence on the Line", which was re-released on his most recent CD, "Cowboy". The lyrics are as follows:
Took my last fall in San Diego
A bus headed north, one headed south
Call a farm in Colorado
And I lift the dusty pay phone to my mouth
She says hello, I say it's me hon
Sorry I stayed away so long
Tell the kids their old man's through with playin' rodeo
Cause if it's alright with you I'm comin' home
Well there's silence on the line
She's says you sure did take your time
But I still need a man for the things a man is good for
You know how it is raisin' crops and raisin' kids
Demands a man at least as fit as you are
So come on git on home there's hay that needs a mowin'
A boy that needs a whippin' and a hundred things to do
I hope you've finally found you mind
To leave that rodeo behind
I've spent half my life just waitin' here for you
I guess that now's the time to tell her
Hon I got this old friend that's here with me
He used to be a cowboy and a good one so they say
But now his legs are crippled he can't walk you see
But hon you ought to hear him tell his stories
Sing the old songs, play the guitar too
I'd really like to show him Colorado
But I thought I'd better leave it up to you
Well there's silence on the line
And now I hear her sayin'
Babe I only need a man for the things a man is good for
And you know how it is a place just half this big
Demands a man at least as fit as you are
Put yourself in his place it's be awful hard to face
All the chores and work and nothing he could do
If you want to know my mind leave that rodeo bum behind
Well cryin's just for kids I put down the phone
Fumble with my crutches movin' slow
I wish that I was on the bus that' Colorado bound
And I hope the weather's nice in Mexico
Chris LeDoux has always been a leader, he is considered a rodeo legend, folk hero, and a world class entertainer. He describes his music as country soul, sage brush blues, cowboy folk, and rodeo rock and roll. Chris is so influential that many new comers have patterned the way they sing after him. George Strait released "Amarillo by Morning" two years after Chris did. Tracy Byrd released "Big Love" after Chris did. But since these guys are more media related, and promoted their releases more, they had more luck than Chris did.
Chris has always done things "his way" and will never change his ways just because the media says he should. Many rappers and other singers change the way they act, dress, and even talk just because the media says they should.
Some Groups like Metallica can write songs that deal with life situations, but Chris does it in a way that you can feel that you are actually experiencing it. There are songs that have good voices like the lead singer of Creed, of all the singers Chris has a voice that stands out amongst the rest.
Chris has ecstatic rhythm, he can go from a country rock to a love ballad and make it extremely fantastic. Chris has a range of rhythm and tempo that makes you want to get up and dance or even sit there and imagine yourself in the song.
Chris has never been nominated for an award, other than his duet with Garth Brooks. He doesn't sing for the awards, he sings because he loves it and he sings for the fans. It has never mattered to Chris LeDoux that he isn't quite as well-known in the east as he is in the west. The west is home to him and is a lot of what he sings about. Maybe he is more popular in the west is because the people here can understand what he sings about.
Chris LeDoux is a plain-spoken man, whose family valued come first and everything else second.
Quote from Chris LeDoux:
"What I want to be known
for, on top of everything else,
is that I was a good husband and family man."