(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
Maybe because Bob Seger was the Garth Brooks of my tween and teen years, his music will always be such a part of who I am. But when you do what I do for a living, you spend so much time listening to new music that there’s hardly time for taking meandering walks down memory lane. But at a friends’ party over the summer, we all discovered we had a Seger passion in common. A passion so strong and an audio memory so vivid that we were able cite quotes off Seger’s 1976 Live Bullet double album verbatim. Like when he’s mid-“Nutbush City Limits” and he says, “As I told everybody last night, I was reading in Rolling Stone where they said that Detroit audiences are the greatest rock and roll audiences in the world. I thought to myself, ‘Shit. I’ve known that for 10 years.'” Or when Seger sings “Turn the Page,” about being on the road and moaning, “Here I go, playing the star again” and “You feel the eyes upon you as you’re shaking off the cold,” you would swear it could be a Jamey Johnson song on country radio right now. I guess that’s why rediscovering Seger’s rock music feels like a memorable country-music moment to me. Because the songs of Seger’s that left such indelible imprints on my brain, like “Night Moves,” “Still the Same,” “Against the Wind,” “You’ll Accomp’ny Me” and “Turn the Page,” have the elements of some of the best country music. For that matter, when Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton released a duet of Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight” in the early ’80s, it reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s country chart. Self-penned lyrics about the heartland, women, strong work ethics and life on the road. A gravely voice full of soul. And a fan base that never forgets.