September 28, 2008

Country rez bands

Rez Bands Put the Country in Indian CountryRecently, the "Rez" hasn't seen any modern country artists. The last artist to visit was Sugarland on Sept. 5 for the annual Navajo Nation Fair. New artists ask for too much money and only want a profit, said Mike, and there is no auditorium on the reservation to host the large crowds needed to generate big ticket sales.

But that doesn't mean country music can't be heard all over the reservation. The music has managed to stay alive and has created a subculture within the Navajo culture. More Rez bands playing original and cover music have sprouted in almost all communities on the reservation. From the Aceswild band in Chinle, Ariz., to Native Journey in Torreon, N.M., Navajo musicians have been making music for swingers, line dancers and two-steppers.

On "cardboard sheets," otherwise known as Navajo billboards, Rez bands have advertised their gigs and dances at chapter houses, activity centers and middle school gyms. A Web site,, shows a list of more than 40 bands and their gigs at more than 130 venues.

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