"Good guys wear Black! Nuthin' says country like a nice cowboy hat."
—Ridley Bent, Manitoban alt-country artist
Have you ever wondered why country musicians and singers wear cowboy hats and boots, or what's the deal behind those fancy shirts? Well SCENE was curious about the power of western fashion when it comes to country music. We asked Winnipeg based alt-country artist Ridley Bent what motivates his fashion choices.
Ridley is a multi-award winning artist who has been praised across the country for his musicianship, imagination and ability to create compelling characters in his songs. His most recent CD Rabbit On My Wheel won Country Recording of the Year at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards. Ridley moved from the West coast to Winnipeg in 2008.
His concert at the West End Cultural Centre Saturday night will also feature Andrina Turenne of Chic Gamine on vocals and his guitarist Chris Dunn.
Here's what Ridley had to say about cowboy hats and boots.
1) What's the mystique behind the cowboy hat?
Good guys wear Black! Nuthin' says country like a nice cowboy hat. Even a rapper from East Vancouver can throw on a cowboy hat and be taken seriously in the country music world. That is as long as he's playing good country music.
2) How do you go about picking the right hat to buy and wear?
If I like the shape and colour of a hat then I try it on. If it fits
perfectly and I like the look it gives me then I buy it.
3) What about the power of a good pair of boots....what do you look for when buying a pair?
I like a nice dark lizard skin pair with pointed silver tips that look
good on stage and are comfortable for at least a couple of hours.
4) The great guitarist Lenny Breau used to practice Flamenco music while wearing a special fancy Spanish shirt, to kind of get in the mood....what about you Ridley, when it come to writing your songs?
I've been known to lay down on the hotel room floor and pretend I have
a rifle in my hand, while in my head I draw a bead on the devils I'd
sworn revenge upon.
5) Where are the best places to go buy proper Western hats, boots and I've found the best places to go are often the Saddle and tack shops in small towns. I picked up my Stetson in High Prairie, Alberta.
6) What can people look forward to seeing on stage this Saturday night at
Nice boots, nice hats, nice shirts, more than a few rhinestones, a big
band of good lookin' country gentlemen and some fine northern belles.
Here's Ridley Bent in performance sporting one of his fine hats.