The first place that comes to mind when we think of country music is usually Nashville, TN. However in the 1960s, California country produced some of the genre's most celebrated stars and songs alike. The two heavyweights of this scene were Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. A little faster and heavier on the guitar leads, the Bakersfield sound became the soundtrack for truckers and the basest of what would become outlaw country. 

Neither a stranger to the Lafayette or Nashville music scene, Gary Newman (not to be confused with the 1980s new wave hitmaker) grew up experiencing what any honky tonk music fan could only dream of. The son of Cajun country crossover star Jimmy C. Newman, Gary grew up at the Grand Ole Opry and also played bass in his father's band for some time. The bassist was also a member of the innovative Cajun rock band Coteau alongside fiddler Michael Doucet and guitarist Bruce McDonald. Though his latest project steers a bit away from these two musical worlds, Newman's lifelong education in roots music can be heard in his latest group. The Haggard Bucks is a straight up classic-country bar band that sounds like what you'd expect. The band features Newman on lead vocals alongside Chris Stafford on pedal steel guitar with Jim McGee and Gary Graef both on electric guitars. If you're looking to dance or just some good beer drinking music then go check these guys out this Thursday night at Artmosphere.

For this week's playlist, I put together a mixtape of some of my favorite Merle and Buck songs alongside some Jimmy C. and Coteau. You'll hear Owen's duet with Dwight Yoakam on "Streets of Bakersfield," Coteau's take on Allen Toussaint's "Basic Lady," and Newman's country-rock version of "Colinda". I also included Ringo Starr's nod to Owens on "Act Naturally", Belton Richard's French cover of "The Lonesome Fugitive," and Haggard's "Somewhere On Skid Row" that many of us know from local swamp popper Johnnie Allan.

Scroll below to stream the playlist or click here.

Live music in Lafayette this week

Wednesday, June 5 at 10:00 pm
Tasche & The Roaches with Kelli Jones, and Julie and the Giants
The Pearl

Thursday, June 6 at 7:00 pm
The Haggard Bucks

Friday, June 7 at 9:30 pm
Rayo Bros, Drunken Prayer, and Lying Shames 
Freetown Boom Boom Room

Saturday, June 8 at 9:30 pm
Marina Orchestra
Blue Moon Saloon 

Saturday, June 8 at 9:30 pm
Rhea, Pique, LeBlanc, Coussan & Perillo plus New Natives Brass Band