You need to live it to sing it
April 21, 2004
The phrase “A dyin’ breed” stuck from the moment he heard it while sitting on horseback until the moment he brought it to the studio.
“I heard those words from some old times, and I’ll never forget them,” Royal Wade Kimes said. “Fencing had already come. The open range was disappearing, and we were sitting in the saddle when one of them said, ‘you know, one day this will all be gone. So will we. We’re a dyin’ breed.'”
He echoed those words one day as he walked down the streets of Nashville with songwriter Kent Blazy.
“I told him to look around,” Kimes said. “There are all these people writing music, but they’re not cowboys. It’s me and George Strait; we’re a dyin’ breed.”
That day, the two men went back to Blazy’s home and put the words of the “old timers” into a song.
Kimes grew up in the mountains of Arkansas, running cattle on the open range.
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“I was fortunate enough to ride with the old timers. I was 10 and most of them were 75,” Kimes said. “I learned so much, and I’m able to put real facts in my songs.
“To write a song with cowboy attitude, you have to know the water before you step in it, because you don’t know how deep it is. You need to have lived it.
“If you listen to a song, you can tell.”
Kimes’ newest album is due out in May on his own Wonderment Records label. The album, titled “Cowboy Cool,” will be released with a pressing of 200 vinyl records for collectors.
Wonderment Records represents a new freedom for Kimes. When his contract ended with Warner Brothers, Kimes vowed never to be on a major label again. Instead, he packed 5,000 records into his truck and sold every one of them, he said.
Steamboat radio listeners may know Kimes’ music from KBCR. The station plays “Night Birds,” a duet with Garth Brooks, and “Mile High Honey” on a heavy rotation.
Kimes will be in Steamboat on Friday to promote his new single, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”
“It’s the best dang cowboy song of our time, it just hasn’t been made into a country song until now,” Kimes said. “Guns ‘n’ Roses cut it as a rock song, but it feels country to me.”