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The California Rangers

RIYL

Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Garth Brooks, Alabama

Inception

San Diego , 2002

Influences

Ray Price, Johnny Paycheck, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wynn Stewart, Bob Wills, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Buck Owens

Discography

Ex-Band Members

Jim Dougherty:
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Are the majority of country-western songs built on heartache and misery? “I would say it drives a lot of the genre, for sure,” says Bob Ryan. “Just like blues. A lot of times you get the blues by having hard times. So, I think country is similarly driven by drinkin’, heartache, and being lonely.”

Ryan has been a country-western guitarist for over 30 years. His band the California Rangers play honky-tonk old-time country music, mixing in some bluegrass, Western swing, and rock and roll. Tom Boren founded the Rangers more than a decade ago. Their specialty, says Ryan, is old-school country from the ’50s and ’60s. Their instruments are standard country-band issue: stock Fender guitars and amps for that clean twang, electric bass guitar, drums, and pedal steel.

“We’re known as a shuffle band. A country-shuffle band. It’s an elusive rhythm that if not done right is pretty sucky.” In fact, he says that country can be trite when it’s not done justice. “It’s a simple form,” he says, “and if all the ingredients are not proper, it can be lame.”

But, shuffle? “A walking bass line with a little backbeat. We don’t do new country.”

Honky-tonks are bars that specialize in country music. And, with few exceptions, the honky-tonk tradition has all but withered away in San Diego. “Venue-wise, it’s never been real popular, but back in the ’80s we did have a circuit that we played quite regularly. But that went away.”

Why? In part, due to the rise of modern-country star Garth Brooks, says Ryan. “We call him the anti-Hank.” He laughs. He points out another factor.

“When the drinking laws went to .08, overnight I saw the party end. I watched it happen to country, but in general it just kicked clubs’ asses. You don’t need people drinkin’ and drivin’ home, but that really kind of hurt. The club scene kinda went away after that.”

In addition, “The DJs definitely affected the circuit,” says Ryan. “When the line-dancers started asking for songs [like the Cotton Eyed Joe or the Two Step] instead of for artists like Willie or Merle, that hurt the scene. The crowd didn’t care if it was live or recorded. They just wanted the right groove to dance to. It seems like everything has been dummied down.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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