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WKND FEEDBACK

Exploring Cali-country

October 24, 2002

As happy as I was to see the L.A. Times overcome its long-standing bias against country music ("City souls, country hearts," Oct. 17), I was disappointed to find that writer Jessica Hundley seems to believe that the Valley sound or the Topanga sound constitutes all that is new or exciting in Cali-country.

It is unfortunate that Hundley seems to be unable to travel any farther from the Valley than Glendale to discover that country music was the most eclectic music on the planet long before Gram Parsons arrived on the scene and the music continues to be, long after his unfortunate passing.

While I certainly mean no disrespect to the fine bands she portrayed in her article, other bands such as Pacific Ryder, Killin Time, the Doo Wah Riders and High Rider consistently draw close to 1,000 hard-core followers.

Barry Bennett

Torrance

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As a member of a Cali-country band (Neon Blue), I'm happy to see some attention given to the cause, especially if it helps persuade more L.A. clubs to book bands that play this music. Believe me, it's not easy.

One thing, though: Your model on the cover is "playing" his Fender Telecaster upside-down. And by the looks of the "chord" he's strumming, it's a good thing he's not plugged in.

Paul Gase

Torrance

Editor's note: In response to many comments about the cover, Austin Hanks is not a model but a left-handed singer-songwriter who plays his Telecaster upside-down, much as Jimi Hendrix did years ago.

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