I collect classic country records pretty avidly and have had a love affair with SiriusXM's "Willie's Roadhouse" over the past year. When I find a song I like, I get an itch that leads me to scratch the vinyl a little deeper to find the best version of the song. Back in the early days, artists would cut each other's songs all the time, sharing their catalogs over the years. And this leads me to the question: who does it better? It's subjective. It's personal. It's impossible. But for me, it's got to do with the emotional delivery from the singer, every time. One of my favorite country songs of all time is "She Thinks I Still Care." If you search it on Spotify, you could choose from dozens of versions, but where my heart falls on this one is with George Jones, even though I truly believe Michael Nesmith did a stunning job of it, as well. I have a similar tug-of-war between versions of "It's Only Make Believe," where Conway Twitty only slightly edges out Lynn Anderson. But what seems so vastly important about these debates I force myself into nearly every day is that the artists are so expressive and generous in a way you definitely don't see in modern country, and you rarely see anywhere else in these times, frankly.
I was looking forward to basking in this exact sonic glow at a classic country-themed night at Winter Park Saloon, but it didn't work out the way I planned, which I've detailed in this month's Feedback (April 24). But that's OK, I suppose, because what I love about Winter Park Saloon is their adorable theming and their TouchTunes jukebox, which opens up a world of classic country options for whoever moseys in.