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What you need to know, really know, about the National Big Fresno Barn Dance, Steve Barile spills out in five words.
"It's about two hours of fun," says Barile, who hosts the radio show with Don Fischer, from 2 to 4 p.m. each Sunday on KFSR.
And ... that about sums it up.
The show is the hillbilly soundtrack to Sunday afternoon barbecues, music made for hootin' and hollerin' (there'll be plenty of both when the Barn Dance plays live at Yoshi Now! from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 19).
Oh, and back-yard beer drinking, too.
You see, at the Barn Dance they play both kinds of music - country and western. And yes, that includes western swing, honky-tonk, old-time country, rockabilly, progressive country and Americana.
But to get the full picture of the Barn Dance, you have to go back to the Big Fresno Barn, the it spot for country and western-swing music during the 1940s. While other theaters hosted uptown acts, the Barn was the place to hear the people's music, the low-brow stuff, like Bob Wills, whose Texas Playboys pioneered western swing in the 1940s. On a side note (Barile and Fisher are full of side notes), Wills lived on 80 acres of land outside Fresno. Called the Triple D Ranch, it served as headquarters for The Playboys from 1945 to 1948. After Wills left, many of his bandmates, Joe Holley for example, stayed and created a sort of legacy in town.
In case you haven't noticed, this ain't Nashville radio.
You won't hear Garth Brooks (and definitely not Chris Gains), Toby Keith or Rascall Flats.
At the The Barn Dance, Wills is the king, along with Wayne the Train Hancock, Whispering Bill and Spade Cooley.
And you'll hear more than their music. Barile and Fischer spatter the show with music history, odd trivia and the strange connections that make the music world so interesting. Even a simple guitar riff is worth mention - if it was played by Buck Owens, before he was Buck Owens.
The depth of musical knowledge here is astounding.
The first music Barile remembers hearing was the fiddle downbeat to Wills' "Take Me back to Tulsa." Saturday afternoons, after the lawn was mowed, his uncle would put the record on in the den, and play along on his fiddle. When his uncle died, Barile inherited the fiddle and the records, and he's spent a lot of time listening to and learning about the music.
In town, Barile is the final word on Wills.
Fisher's parents, on the other hand, listened to Top 40.
But his neighbors had a huge collection of country western 45s, and he had a regular baby-sitting gig - until he wore out the grooves on the records and was fired.
Later, after the two met and became friends while working at KZOZ, FM 93 in San Luis Obispo, they spent hours talking about, listening to and sharing the music.
"We'd cash our paycheck Friday night down at Bull's Tavern. Then we'd be broke by Saturday morning," Barile says.
And seeing the show unravel from inside the studio, it seems little has changed. These are the same two guys slipping coins into the jukebox all night long.
This is about the music after all - about two hours of fun, as Barile says.
There are no pre-planned set lists, just the pair digging through the several hundred CDs they drag into the studio each week, each song flowing into the next, spurred on by some connection, another memory perhaps, another story.
And that ol' Barn Dance Rag plays on.