I feel like it’s a right of passage, once living in the rainy terrain of the Northwest long enough, to become enamored with the romantic mysticism of the cowboy. Even I, someone who has never been particularly fond of country music, desert heat, or being outdoors for long periods of time, have recently found myself completely enchanted by the concept of cowboy culture. The independence and frontiership, communion with nature and animals, and, of course, the fashion.
There’s a reason Austin is a major hub for Seattleites looking for a cultural shift. Just divergent enough for a taste of something new but without having to give up one’s Democratic leanings, the city is a (very, very) small taste of the cowboy life. Venture beyond the city limits, though, and one finds themselves in a vastly different culture than perhaps the one they intended.
Right before the pandemic, my dad bought a ten-acre ranch in Burnet, Texas. A small ranch town with only one grocery store, the city boasts no less than eight antique stores and three wineries (?!) to appeal to Austinites looking to get out of the big city for no more than five hours. Torsos are adorned with “Texas Forever” shirts, Trump signs poke out of fences, and taxidermy is one of the leading professions.
But, as the now-daughter of a ranch owner, I have decided to look past those things and lean into the romantic mythos of a Texas one might find in a Louis L’Amour novel. From my window I gaze upon my father, riding a John Deere tractor and wearing a cowboy hat as if the past 35 years as a quasi-hippie estate planning attorney in the Northwest never happened, and I think, “Maybe we all just want to be cowboys” (in between laughing at the ridiculousness of the scene).
This concept permeates the latest single from Seattle’s Ess Ford. The side project of Snuff Redux frontman Skyler Ford even sounds a little bit like the name of an outlaw in a spaghetti western so perhaps it was only a matter of time before he made his cowboy paean. Titled “The Cowboy Cure,” the song takes tried-and-true cowboy concepts like riding off into the sunset alone, trippin’ on tumbleweeds, and passing around a flask while sneaking in some decidedly urban woes about the state of the economy and a fraudulent governmental system.
Alongside the song, Ford has unveiled a video that marries the Northwest and Southwest in cinematic fashion (or the best one can do on a shoestring budget). Joined by longtime collaborator/engineer Gunior “The Godfather” aka Garrett Ashbaugh and Salt Lick’s Lindsey Kaghan, the video is an epic story where instead of horses galloping over the desert tundra we see ferries chugging across the Puget Sound. This divergence in scene may not be cowboy canon but perhaps for those of us who would rather sludge through nine months of grey over five months of sweating through our shirts and prefer our animals sans poison, this is our kind of cowboy. This is what Ford had to say about the song:
“The Cowboy Cure” follows 2020’s third Ess Ford release In Hindsight. Watch the video as well as Snuff Redux’s KEXP in-studio session from 2018 below.
Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. This week, we are featuring loca...
Snuff Redux has burst on the scene, wooing the hearts of KEXP DJs, with their EP, Toy Kingdom. Comprised of Daniel Chesney (bass), Dylan Arlick (guitar), Alex Paulino (drums) and Ford (guitar, vocals), this young, fresh-faced four-piece seems ready to take on the world. KEXP caught up the group t...