By Chance Johnson
Joe Buck, aka Jim Finkley, is taking a stand against the current state of country music.
“There is no country music, its dead,” he said. “It’s been dead for a long time.”
“There are no country people, there are no country values, so there’s going to be no country music.”
Finkley’s band, Joe Buck Yourself, is on its way to perform at Hodi’s Half Note on Nov. 7.
“There’s a good scene out there,” He said. “It’s real old school, and I love Colorado,” said Finkley.
The Nashville veteran has recorded and toured extensively with the infamous Hank 3, after a long stint with hillbilly group, Legendary Shack Shakers.
“I’ve been trying to be Hank Williams since the early 80’s, but kept playing punk rock music because I wasn’t good enough yet,” said Finkley.
Being brought up as a farm kid, the mohawked hillbilly described how he ran from his country roots because of the negative stereotypes attached to it.
“When I found Hank Williams by accident at my punk rock parties in 1982, it changed my life,” He said.
Finkley explained how this revelation came about one night while at a party when someone threw on Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits.
“I wouldn’t listen to anything but Hank Williams for four years after that. I’d tell my friends, ‘If we get ten stacks of marshals, we’ll never be that heavy!’”
This was the point when Hinkley first recognized what he saw as a huge problem in Nashville.
“I realized we’re not progressing at all,” Finkley said. “You go from Hank Williams to Garth brooks and you call that progress?”
“I made a little record that became my band Gringo. The second Gringo album was a bluegrass record, and I swore I’d never pick up an electric guitar again.”
Making the move from Chicago to Nashville, Finkley worked long and hard to get his name out there.
“I wasn’t gonna play rock and roll anymore,” He said. “I spent my time playing eight to twelve hours a day in a bar in Nashville, just playing old country songs. I ended up owning a bar, and out of that came the Shack Shakers and Hank 3.”
So, is Joe Buck Yourself country, is it punk, or a hybrid of both?
“I’m Joe Buck,” Finkley said. “I play loud and vicious because the world’s fucked up and we’re getting ready to start World War Three.”
Finkley stated that he has been successful as a solo artist without relying on his recognition from Hank 3 and the Shack Shakers.
“Well, there are obviously people that come to my shows that know me from those acts,” He said. “Now that I’ve been doing this stuff for so long, there’s a whole other group of people that don’t even know that I played with those guys.”
Out of rebellion against the Nashville machine, Joe Buck has innovated a sound all his own.
“It’s not time for the real hillbilly, wearing a scarf tie, playing nice traditional country music,” he said. “Because country music’s dead.”