Friday, February 18, 2005

Jump in the line

Between the "Macarena" and "Boot Scootin' Boogie," line dancing got a very bad reputation in the 1990s. But it remains a closet fascination of mine, and nothing delights me more than when line dancing breaks out at one of my country music shows. My fondest memory of such is the time my band the Junkers was performing at the Rainbow Room, the now-defunct, ultra-sleazy gay bar in downtown Madison. We started playing "She Thinks I Still Care," and just then two drag queens, a flamboyantly gay club kid and a glittery woman stripper began line dancing--the little kicks, the turns, the whole deal. All to the saddest George Jones song in the world. It was magical.

And it happened last night. The World's Greatest Lovers were playing what may have been our last gig this winter up at Devil's Head, the ski resort, and toward the end of the show a group of women and tweenage girls came into the bar. (Seeing kids in the bar there is not uncommon; it's a resort, after all. Sometimes they're in their jammies.) We started playing "White Lightning"--something about that George Jones music--and four or five of the girls, aged about eleven, jumped up and did an elaborately choreographed line dance that looked like a cheerleading routine. I was, once again, mesmerized.

Between songs the girls would rush up and request music that we didn't know, but that actually was relatively appropriate for us: they asked for Rascal Flatts, for example, and "Cotton Eyed Joe" (had we known it, "Cotton Eyed Joe" would have been great, for sitting in with us was the brilliant fiddler Chris Wagoner of the Moon Gypsies). With these requests the girls demonstrated that they "got" us better than many of the older folk who have seen us at Devil's Head, if baffling requests are anything to go by ("You guys do any Soundgarden?").

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