With unlikely roots for a country singer, Northern California native Bob Appel was exposed to the neo-traditional country sounds of Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, George Strait, Dwight Yoakam, and Aaron Tippin as a teen. It took years to appreciate the poetic storytelling, simple musical structure, and heartfelt vocal performance evident in their songs, and to understand that there was a common source of inspiration — one steeped in country music traditions from prior generations.
It was through the allusions in the lyrics and sounds of these singers that Bob found the music of icons like Hank Williams, Faron Young, Ray Price, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, and Wynn Stewart. After a few visits to the “home of country music”, he was disillusioned by the commercialism he witnessed in the impersonal and overblown stadium shows, selling songs that capitalize on modern trends rather than respecting country music’s rich tradition.
After one visit to Austin, Texas, Bob found music brought back to the basics, on a small stage with a small audience — a participatory audience with diverse ways of appreciating traditional country music, whether two-stepping and waltzing, tapping a foot, singing along, marveling at the fiddle and steel, or simply reminiscing.
Since moving to the live music capital in 2010, after years of watching from a seat, Bob Appel stands up every day and night — at dance halls, festivals, markets, opry shows, honky tonks, beer joints, and bars — bringing the musical traditions of times gone by to times yet to come.