Cowboys and Hope
Lacy J. Dalton leads a stampede of performers and poets at Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Lacy J. Dalton, one of the headliners for the 13th Annual Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival, knows what the people want.
“The world loves cowboy music,” she says, “and you know what, so does Lacy J.”
The longtime country icon, and the voice behind “Takin’ It Easy,” “Crazy Blue Eyes” and “16th Avenue,” isn’t shy about sharing other thoughts.
The Weekly caught up with her in advance of her Saturday night appearance in downtown Monterey to hear a few of them:
On the Intersection of Music and Life:
“From the very beginning of my career, I’ve always reached out to people to say we are so much bigger than all of this [music].
“It’s surprising what we can do in the midst of incredible hardships. There’s so much that we can draw on from inside ourselves and from our friends. We can get through the worst of times. That’s what my music has always been about. When I’m really writing to reach people that is one of the things I try to say: ‘You can do it’.
“I think that’s where commercial music makes a mistake. Music is a very direct way to get to someone’s heart. If I have touched one life through my music, my life will be complete.
“We are always hoping we will have a message for someone to turn around a bad thing. I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘That song “I’m A Survivor” got me through chemo or helped me overcome suicidal thoughts.’”
“I never really wanted to be a star, [but] I realized that it was necessary to be able to do what I do for the rest of my life – being able to do the music my spirit gives me and it’s very fulfilling and the right thing for me. Trying to make music for radio that is just repetitious and catchy is fine, and some people have been very successful at combining some of those things, but there are songs that give people hope along the way. I had to compromise what I really wanted to say to people when I was with record companies and that became something I wasn’t willing to do anymore in my late 40s.”
On a Double Dose of Inspiration:
“Sarah McLachlan inspires me. She sounds like an angel to me and she is very dedicated to helping animals. It’s funny that you don’t hear more about what artists and musicians do, but I think a lot of them have that urge to help people. That’s a really big driving force, and it’s fun to do it.”
On What the Cowboy Crowd Will Get This Weekend:
“It’s more of a targeted audience for cowboy audience so I’m going to try to aim for something they will enjoy. It’ll be more focused on cowboy type material.”
MONTEREY COWBOY POETRY AND MUSIC FESTIVAL is held Dec. 2-4, 6pm Fri. 9am Sat. and Sun, at the Monterey Conference Center, 1 Portola Plaza., Monterey. $25-220. 659-1041, www.montereycowboy.org