P. O. Box 575  • Sealy, Texas •  979-877-4822  •  alan@cowboysportsnews.com

Big Al's View Of The World


My wife and I are two of the most untalented people you will ever meet. She can sing in the shower and I can sing in the truck. Between the two of us we would have a hard time drawing a stick man. If we had a green thumb it would only be because the gangrene set in from one of us hitting it with a hammer. So when our son started playing the drums at 5 years old and then progressed to the guitar it was a surprise to say the least. He can tool leather, build things from silver and draw like no other.

Now that he is in college he has really started singing. He started in high school when he had a project for his freshman English class on Romeo and Juliet. He wrote a song and based it on Robert Earl Keen’s song “Shades of Gray.” It is still one of my favorites for him to sing. He also enjoys singing other people’s songs and here lately has started singing some Red Shahan.

I was never not a fan of Red. I just didn’t know his songs. Now that my son has me listening to them he is growing on me fast. I’m probably also one of the only 50 year old dudes listening to Koe Wetzel, Read Southall, William Clark Green and Flatland Cavalry. I guess you can say my Texas Red Dirt taste has progressed beyond Cross Canadian, Roger Creager and Kevin Fowler.

Red Shahan can’t be that bad. He sings of “hooking up the one horse and entering the UPRA to pay the water bill.

Back to the subject Big Al’!!!

Anyway, this Red Shahan fellow has this new song Culberson County out. You have to listen to it a few times to make it grow on you but it will, just give it time. If you like his song Men & Coyotes you are going to like this one.

In this Culberson County song he sings, “let’s keep the lonely places lonely as long as we can.”

My son is a lot like me. He has that solitude to him. When he heard these words he had to tell me about them. We’ve been to Culberson County. We know the silent nights, the sound of the coyote in the distance. In the next line Red sings, “let’s keep it out of reach for anyone who doesn’t understand.” My sentiments exactly!

When my son had me listen to it the first time, he said, “did you hear that part?” I did and I thought it was dead on.

We used to haul cattle to West Texas most every other Friday night with our son asleep in a car seat in the back seat of the truck. The kid has grown up in the cactus and rocks of Dryden. We have sat in chairs outside looking at those West Texas night skies for hours and hours. His favorite thing to do is hunt Blue Quail in the cactus and mesquite. He loves the thrill of the chase. He loves the chirp the birds make when they are trying to group back up. I swear he can hear one a mile away.

We were hunting for artifacts one cold December and he found a flint knife on the ground. He was the first person to touch that thing in probably 800 years.

To say he understands is an understatement. He understands the lonely places. He has seen the ones who don’t understand. We’ve leased out our ranch for hunting since the beginning. He has seen the yuppie hunters that have no idea. They didn’t, don’t, nor will they ever understand the lonely places. The lonely places are lonely because they are an acquired taste. Just like beer of which he and I both can’t stand, you have to acquire the love for the lonely places.

We left the rodeo the other night and on the way home he said, as soon as school was out for the semester he wanted to head to the ranch. You don’t have to tell me twice! I’m not sure if there are any rodeos that weekend or not. What I do know is that there will be plenty of rodeos to come. The lonely places will not always be lonely.

The people that don’t understand are coming. They are coming for the profit of the land and they are coming just to have it. They don’t know what they have, they just know they want it. They’ll never understand.

Back at home my favorite thing to do each night is go outside and just stand or sit there for a little bit before bed. The sounds of the night are amazing. The dogs barking miles away. The crickets and the cows. I’m 60 miles from downtown Houston. I live in the country for now. It won’t always be like this. I’m soaking it in to remember later.

I have no idea the meaning of some of the lyrics to Red Shahan’s songs. I’m sure there is something hidden in most of them that only he knows but those words rang true to both of us the first time we heard them. Let’s keep the lonely places lonely. Let’s keep it out of reach for anyone who doesn’t understand.

Keeping them lonely
and out of reach,

Big Al


May 2018 Cowboy Sports News Magazine

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