I’ve found my self drinking in dives for the last few months. Not working class pubs, but really honest dives. The ones w beer stained carpets, laminate tables, and chipboard walls. The ones where you only drink beer in bottles, and you only drink domestic lager. The one where the menu consists of hot dogs and pickled eggs. The ones that you face towards the door with your drink for safety and the ones with knife warnings on the door.
It’s filthy and for a middle class boy it’s slumming, I freely admit that. You may ask why, well there are practical reasons; no one cares if you have a pen and pad out, the bartenders are looser about last call and no one you know will be there. But there is a larger reason. I drink there because of the live bands.
Everywhere else compares Deck size to dick size- dives in Edmonton don’t even advertise their gigs, the internet cafes and after hour clubs have people trying to prove their prowess, these bands know theirs.
They play country and that’s all they play, and they play it well. It is the job they have and they take pride in it, not really as an artist but as a craftsman. They are there for the drinker and play songs they will know in a style that is familiar. They play cheating songs and loving songs and hurting songs, and the guitar and the drums and the lap steel is as authentic as can be. The one thing that they haven’t played yet, maybe because the drinkers don’t want to be reminded is drinking songs.
I like this country, I like the old time music and I can never really find it performed, a longneck Budweiser and an hour gives it back to me. Not bad for 3 bucks.