Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Custer, Kostas & Blogging by the campfire

da man himself, Kostas (pickin steak outta his teeth)
Kostas' Antique Store

Custer's last stand

I saw these horses on the next hill over from "Last Stand" hill

Driving to Custer's last Stand/Little Bighorn. I expected what I hear of Gettysburg. A modern world built around a civil war site. Little Bighorn is nothing of the sort. Check it out if you're ever in Mid-Montana area. Great! I'll post a coupla pics.

Kostas. If you don't know him but listened to Country Music in the last 20 years, you've probably loved a lot of  his songs: Timber, I'm Falling In Love", "On Down The Line" & "Blame It On Your Heart"-ALL great Patty Loveless hits,  "Ain't That Lonely Yet" & "Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose"-GREAT Dwight Yoakam hits and one of my faves EVER "Lord Have Mercy On The Working Man"-Travis Tritt. Those are just a few. It's just laughable that this guy AIN'T in the “Songwriters Hall of Fame". Anyways, that ain’t my “card game”.  Well being in the land of Kostas, I thought I'd give him a ring. We meet at his place and head out to this GREAT steak place in his area (Manhattan,MT) and this is some of what we talked about (aside from Greek Orthodox Church history):
Born in Greece but moved to Montana with his dad, mom and aunt when he was young.
I made Kostas stop to take a picture. Guess he sees it every night, I don't.
His first job at 7 was “cleaning the chicken shit off of the eggs” for $2 a month.
His mom bought him his first guitar when he was 7 or 8, which was a Harmony Sovereign. He said they were “industrial strength” guitars that she’d probably paid around $35.
Grew up listening to Greek, Middle Eastern and Baltic music while in Greece. After moving to the US (in the mid 50’s) he and his dad listened to Faron Young, Kitty Wells, Elvis, Buck Owens, Wanda Jackson, Fleetwoods, etc….  
Kostas moved to Nashville in '89 and felt REALLY outta place winning the NSAI "Songwriter Of The Year" that year. He'd never heard of the organization long before that and felt outta place as hell at the awards. He said, I'm sure they were like "who the hell is Kostas?" (as he was thinking what the hell is the NSAI). He'd given some music to Claire Lynch back in the 80's and a few years later she'd given the music to Tony Brown (successful A&R guy and Producer) and the rest is what you'd call Country Music history.
Bloggin by the campfire
 Kostas still writes and played me a song “Indigo” I think he’d call it. It was more of a Samba typa song and was cool as shit! Kostas said he never wrote "for Nashville" and said he was never good at “copy-cat writing”. He wrote more based off of inspiration, I guess. Seems to have made him a good retirement. If you want to hear one of the most unique writers of the last 25 years of Country music songwriting, Kostas IS a must listen. No one else wrote, sang or played like him. He now lives above his antique store outside of Boseman. He seems happy. Kind and VERY wise man. Kostas makes me glad to have been lead down the road that I was lead down. I've learned something from every visit with him.
Onward to Yellowstone... en-route to Denver to pick up the kids.

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