On Blues-Rock

I don’t usually have the regular use of a car, but for various reasons I do at the moment, and so I’m listening to the radio more than I normally do. Here in Ottawa I haven’t found a radio station I really like, but the one I turn to is 101.9 DAWG FM, which plays blues-rock. Or what they think of as blues-rock, anyway.

[It’s going to sound, in this blogpost, as though I’m tearing several strips off of DAWG FM. That’s not my intention. Basically I enjoy listening to their station. I just have to shake my head at certain aspects of their operation, that’s all.]

Some of the stuff they play is legitimately bluesy. But some of it is just rock that they can make the argument that it’s kind of bluesy, though, even though it really isn’t. (Some obviously older and well-known; not sure how much new. “When Love Comes to Town” by U2 and BB King is one of their big favourites, if that suggests anything to you.) The announcers… they tend to get these extremely white-sounding people to do their DJing. Very soft, nonthreatening male voices, a little too close to the microphone, talking about how they went to IKEA on the weekend. This kind of thing. The station advertises their morning show, the Dawg’s Breakfast, with some kind of patter about how crazy it gets and maybe you better not listen to it because it’ll be too much for you. No it won’t; it’s the most sedate morning show I’ve ever heard.

And it’s fine. If they’ve determined that this is the kind of thing the people of Ottawa want to hear, I have no issue with it. I’m not trying to prove how Authentic I am or anything. Now, if <em>I</em> was running a blues-rock station, <em>I</em> might want to put someone on the air who’s <em>cool</em> in some way, in <em>any</em> way, but that’s just me.

One problem with the station is that they don’t seem to have the deepest catalog in the world. I only hear it for about fifteen minutes at a time, a few times a day, but even in that limited exposure I occasionally hear a song that I’ve already heard them play not long ago. That shouldn’t happen. Not without listening to it a lot more than I do.

Or then there’s what happened today, which had me shouting, “Come on!” at the car radio. See, one of the things they do every so often is they play the little sounder that says, “Another DAWG FM Soul Shot!” and then they play an old soul song. Which I’m all for, because I love old soul music. So last week, late afternoon, I’m driving along, and they announce another DAWG FM Soul Shot. Which turns out to be “Roll with It” by Steve Winwood. And I had to laugh, because I know soul music well enough to know that that ain’t it. I like Steve Winwood; I like “Roll with It”. If they want to play it, I’m happy to listen. But don’t try to tell me that this is freaking soul music.

That was last week. Today, again late afternoon, I’m driving home, and another Soul Shot comes along. This time it turns out to be…

… “Roll with It” by Steve Winwood.

What is this, they only know four soul songs? Of which one of them isn’t even? Silliness.