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DAVID ALLAN COE

David Allan Coe will perform at 8 p.m. tonight, May 10, at Rustle Hill Winery in Cobden. 

David Allan Coe – Country music icon; 8 p.m. tonight, May 10; Rustle Hill Winery, 8595 U.S. 51, Cobden; tickets are $35 and avail-able at the door; doors open at 4 p.m. Opening act The Natives take the stage at 5 p.m.; for more info, call 618-893-2700.

Songwriters never know where they may get the inspiration for their next composition. It could be as purely simple as watching someone walking through the mall or as emotionally complex as attending a funeral of a close friend who died unexpectedly at an early age.

David Allan Coe was motivated to compose his recent single, “Leave Ole Willie Alone,” when he noticed the misguided priorities of the national media, who focused on Willie Nelson cutting his hair and getting arrested for simple marijuana possession, instead of a flood of murderers and thieves or oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

A true country music legend, Coe will appear at 8 p.m. tonight, May 10, at Rustle Hill Winery, on the northern outskirts of Cobden on U.S. 51, about 10 miles south of Carbondale.

Coe is best known for Top 10 singles “The Ride,” “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile,” and signature tune “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” a drunken barroom standard from the day karaoke was invented.

The 72-year-old Coe is a native of Ohio, where he spent 20 years in reform school and prison before joining the Nash-ville music scene in the late 1960s. He immediately took on his own unique identity, painting “The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy” on the side of an old hearse and parking it in front of the Ryman Auditorium, selling his products out of the back as patrons attended the Grand Ole Opry.

Coe’s first hit came in 1974, when a song he wrote for Tanya Tucker, “Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone),” rose to the top of the charts. The doors of Music City were suddenly kicked wide open as commercial success lowered the guard of music executives apprehensive about his extensive tattoos and questionable background.

As a songwriter, he hit a peak with the Johnny Paycheck classic “Take This Job and Shove It.”

Along with Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams Jr. and Willie Nelson, Coe was at the forefront of the Outlaw movement in country music during the 1970s and catered to his fan base with tunes like “Longhaired Redneck,” “Divers Do It Deeper” and “Willie, Waylon and Me.”

Coe ended a seven-year drought out of the Billboard Top 40 in 1983 with “The Ride,” about a hitchhiker getting a ride with the ghost of Hank Williams.

Summoned to New York City to be praised by the head of Sony Music for the success of the record, Coe was a bit disappointed when two of his three names were misspelled on a welcoming banner, then stepped on top of the mogul’s desk and launched into a profanity laced tirade for making him wait in the lobby for seven hours. The outburst is part of country music lore.

Coe’s latest CD is titled “DAC’s Back.” It is available for purchase and download at various retailers.

VINCE HOFFARD can be reached at 618-658-9095 or vincehoffard@yahoo.com.

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