Country is one of America’s most treasured musical genres, and not just among casual racists! But did you know there are country artists you’ve never heard of? What a world!
Murderin’ Joe was good at two things: laying down a killer steel pedal guitar riff and murdering teenagers. Joe’s signature west Texas twang earned him a loyal fan base, a fan base that had seemingly no idea of his insatiable bloodlust. Of course the clues were in his stage name and the lyrics to songs like “Huntin’ on Prom Night,” “Gone Stranglin’” and “I Left Their Bodies In The Quarry, Y’all.” Murderin’ Joe was eventually arrested for tax evasion.
Richie “I Am Drunk” Kilmeade
Known as one of the most painfully honest voices in country, Richie Kilmeade took his nickname from the only lyric he ever wrote. His performances were characterized by his signature stumble, percussive hiccups and near constant vomiting. “He knew how to milk a crowd,” said music journalist Mike Nesbitt. “He’d often spend twenty minutes wandering around the stage before finally finding the microphone and delivering a single, echoing, ‘I am drunk!’” Richie is survived by his collection of misshapen beer bottles.
Keith Doherty, a.k.a. The Walkout King
Keith Doherty was a moderately talented singer/songwriter known for his live performances, or lack thereof. Over the course of every show, Doherty would spot a female fan in the crowd, fall in love with her, grow disillusioned and walk out on her forever, all from the comfort of the bandstand. Doherty never finished a single performance, but still holds the record among country musicians for least illegitimate children.
Chester the Dog
Many country singers have tried to capture the mournful tones of a lost dog’s howl, but few could top Chester, a clinically depressed golden retriever with a knack for melody. Chester first wowed audiences at the Grand Ole Opry after his owner, the morbidly obese yodeler Mac Lewenthal, collapsed during his second set. Chester ran on stage, licked Mac’s face in an unsuccessful attempt to wake him and started to howl. That audience was so baffled by the sight that they let Chester finish out the set and play two encores. Mac did not survive. Chester never performed again, but enjoyed a later career providing backing vocals for Wilco.
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