Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose...

Last Friday night, my friend and musician Brandon Rhyder was scheduled to play in his hometown for the very first time. It promised to be a huge night, both for the crowd and the band. However, a dirty act caused the liquor license of the bar to be pulled at the last minute. From the horse's mouth it appeared to be a direct attack on Brandon by the district attorney who simply did not want him to play. HERE is the article in the local paper about the incident and below is Brandon's letter to the editor. I cannot begin to tell you how much this upsets me. Not only because it was Brandon, but because this is exactly how this town works. In this dry town and county, there are three other establishments with a license who have zero problems maintaining it. But this bar has had trouble from the very beginning- both from the townspeople and city council and from the police and highway patrol who stake out the exits handing out DWIs. The best part is that all the people who are so against it are the same people who drive two counties over to buy their alcohol. It's a cryin' shame.

Hi, my name is Brandon Rhyder. Last Friday night I was scheduled to play at the local Carthage venue, Alamo Bar. Upon arriving we discovered that the liquor license had been pulled from the venue and the show was at risk of being cancelled. Instead, the show went on as planned as a BYOB event.
It's not front page news that the community is divided when it comes to the subject of a bar being in this dry county. Old money, politics and religion are the center of attention with this issue and that fight is not my personal fight. I play in bars. That's how I feed my family and eight other families to boot. All the artists in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame (in Carthage) played in bars. The artists you pay good money to see in coliseums most likely started out playing bars. I call it my second college education.

Some people have insinuated that District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson may have a vendetta against me. Danny Buck has been a family friend and has represented my family as a lawyer on occasion. I think Danny Buck was playing cards dealt by his constituents and he wants to be re-elected. I feel the timing was calculated and the intention specific. The timing affected my income.

I have never been asked to play at any other event in my hometown by the Chamber of Commerce and/or the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. This does not insult me. I feel confident that opportunities would have presented themselves down the road as my career continues to grow.

People will tell me that this turn of events had nothing to do with me. It could have been any body else, but it wasn't. I came home to play where I was invited to play, and if asked again I will do the same.

Prohibition has long been silenced. I believe in freedom of speech and that the laws in place allowed the owners of the Alamo Bar to place residency on the loop.

It's ironic to me that in less than a year I was presented the key to the city for my accomplishments in music, invited home to play, only to find the locks had been changed.

Brandon Rhyder


Anonymous said...

Oh, SNAP!!! Great letter by Brandon.....had no idea about the controversy but love how he handled it.
Oh and can I just say: 'Danny Buck' LOL!


Heather said...

Kudos to Brandon for making his side known. And shame on Carthage for not treating one of their own better.

Anonymous said...

Howdy Ms. Sara. He played here at Gilley's on Saturday, we went... It was great and he mentioned the whole thing. He said the up side was that BYOB in his hometown meant everyone was carrying 3 coolers with them and there was no closing time. Anyways... Glad things are going well with you!

Rhonda T.

StephanieG said...

wow...that's just...wow

good for him for writing the letter, boo for carthage!

V said...

I love that letter, especially the last paragraph.

It's pretty ridiculous, and, sadly, pretty typical of small-town politics.