“Glam Rock, Heavy Metal, Classic Rock and Kid Rock.” That would be my answer if you asked me to list my favorite types of music. Of course, take me out to hear live music and I’m not too picky. I love the thrill of seeing and hearing musicians in person, especially if it’s in an outdoor setting. Music has always been an immensely important part of my life for as far back as I can remember.
In the late 1960’s I was madly in love with groups like The Beatles, The Stones, The Animals, The Doors, and forever in love with Elvis. I wore miniskirts and go-go boots and my mom and I never missed an episode of Hullabaloo or American Bandstand. I wanted to hitch-hike to Woodstock from Colorado to New York in ’69 even though I was barely more than a baby. Truth! Thanks to my family, I discovered my love of music before I had even started school.
The 70’s found me getting down to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Bob Seger, Aerosmith and Kiss. I wore Granny Dresses, huge bell bottomed jeans, tube tops, and discovered my life-long love affair with stylish cowboy boots.
But, the eighties, those fabulous eighties will always be my favorite decade of all. Poison, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Cinderella, Skid Row, Def Leppard, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Tesla, Scorpions, this list could go on and on and on. My fashion tastes ranged from massive shoulder pads, legwarmers and fingerless gloves to parachute pants and jellies. Bring back the eighties!
So how is it that Chris LeDoux, rodeo champion cowboy from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and all American Country Western songwriter and musician, is the greatest music inspiration in my life? My love and appreciation for Chris and his music began the first time I saw him play live at our local small-town rodeo back in the early 80’s, and it will never end. Maybe my upbringing had something to do with it. My dad is an old rodeo cowboy. I grew up listening to stories about Cowboys and Indians, the Old West, and the cowboy way of life. We lived that life, too. Every Friday night my parents hosted a sing-a-long at our house where friends and family would pile into our living room or out in the back yard with every sort of instrument imaginable and just play and sing until the wee hours of the morning. The songs they performed were always Country. I knew and sang every word of every song, in spite of my love for the wilder rock genre of music. I guess I’ll always be a bit of a cowgirl at heart.
When I started writing Historical Romances way back in the 1980’s, I realized I couldn’t write unless I had music playing, and that hasn’t changed. However, most of the headbanging songs I listened to then, and even now, aren’t all that inspiring for the types of books I write about romance and the adventure of the Old West. But on a warm summer night under the star-lit Colorado sky so many years ago, I heard a young Chris LeDoux singing his songs about the legends of the West. Magic happened. For over thirty years, his songs have been a constant inspiration for me when I’m writing. After that night, I never missed a chance to see him in concert as his music career achieved more recognition. I even gave him an autographed copy of my very first book, TEXAS ROSE, and told him how much his music influenced my writing.
Chris LeDoux lost his battle with cancer in March of 2005. But, for those of us who were so deeply affected by his music his legacy lives on forever. Most people don’t even know who he was, but if you have ever read any of my Western romances, you might hear the distant whispers of his influence in my words.
Even now that I’m switching genres from Western to Paranormal Romance there are certain songs that must be playing when I’m writing certain types of scenes, and I’d like to share them with you here:
For the never-ending turmoil that must be a part of all good love stories, this song is the one that must be playing while I write about the conflict trying to prevent the hero and the heroine from being together for all eternity. Of course, you have to know I love this video, too…Cowboys and Indians. Sigh!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWR7ILg75D4 Tougher Than The Rest
No love scene in any of my books has ever been written unless this song was playing in the background. Yes, I love this video, too. I had a lace dress just like the one the girl is wearing in this video back in the 90’s, and Chris is so gorgeous in this video. Double sigh!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSBH6bTZPro Look At You Girl
And, last but not least, all great Western romances need for the hero to ride off into the sunset, at least for a little while, until he comes to his senses and realizes he needs more than his horse to snuggle up to at night. I can’t tell you how many scenes I’ve written with this song playing over and over again on the stereo. In the manuscript I’m working on now, my vampire hero drives off in his big Ford truck as he agonizes over his hopeless love for a human woman. Of course, this song was playing while I wrote that scene. Chris’ songs cross all genres, because the deep meaning is always there.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkN3smeaVDw Riding For A Fall
So, if you see me driving down the street, you can rest assured I’m headbanging to some old 80’s metal song, or rocking out to Kid Rock on my car stereo. Chris LeDoux songs are special; they need to be listened to with candles burning, a glass of wine, and inspiration lighting my imagination.