Local country music legend Rex Hobart is back in town following an extended stay in wintry Buffalo, New York, and not-so-wintry Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Pitch shoots the bull with him to get to the bottom of his latest creation, the Honky-Tonk Standards Chuck Wagon Dinner Show.
So, you've come back to KC after a three-year hiatus. Why the Chuck Wagon Dinner Show?
Well, when I was in Buffalo, I had a band there called the Wrecks, and we had a weekly gig at a little bar. And I became really sort of inspired by the fact that people kept coming out every week. We always had a pretty good crowd even in the dead of winter. It's fun the idea that people had this reliable honky-tonk band. So I thought, If I ever make it back to KC, I'm gonna try that.
Does the whole band [Misery Boys included] play the show?
This is the way we're doing it it's the Honky-Tonk Standards Chuck Wagon Dinner Show. We didn't want to bill it as the actual Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys, because we still want those shows to be something special and a bigger kind of show. Plus, we wanted to be a cover band and play songs that really inspired us really, we're focusing on the songs we've been ripping off over the years. With everybody's schedule, it'll be different Misery Boy members every week, with a new musician sitting in from time to time we've got a steel player coming up from Lawrence. But, yeah, it's more than just a dude with a guitar singing songs.
The bulk of what you play is covers?
Yeah, real honky-tonk standards. A lot of Merle Haggard and George Jones. Ray Price, Willie Nelson, some Johnny Cash. And I'll play some acoustic Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys songs here and there.
What's the best thing to order at the Chuck Wagon Dinner Show?
I would have to say the pizza. I tried it last week, and it was awesome.
Maybe a chuck-wagon-fare special menu could be designed with beef jerky, buffalo meat and beans on it.
Right! Who knows, situations like these do usually evolve. Beef jerky and beans that's a good idea.
How do you feel about Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill opening at Harrah's?
[Laughs] I have some thoughts on that whole scene it's not country, to me. I will say as a singer-songwriter that the song ["I Love This Bar"] is inane. The thing that drives me nuts is that, while I think it's possible to write a good song about loving a particular bar, if you listen to it, there's nothing clever about it. It's "I love this, I love that, they've got beer!" It's so bad. But that's all my life energy that I'll waste on Toby Keith at the moment.
Tuesdays, 7 p.m., 2008