Parsons native Tom Wardle believes that country music isn’t just music, it’s a lifestyle. Small wonder then that he would use the moniker djcowboy as his email address.
And it’s no surprise that Wardle would be a disc jockey, working to preserve and promote the contemporary western lifestyle and pure country music genres.
Wardle says “If it ain’t traditional, it ain’t country!” And he points out that more than half the country music you hear on the radio today is country-rock or country-pop, not pure country. And the Academy of Western Artists based in Gene Autry, Oklahoma, agrees big time.
In early 2014, Wardle joined newly-established KTNK-AM Lompoc, California, where his shows are featured , as one of KTNK’s flagship program.
His “Honky Tonks & Heartaches” show (also the name of his Facebook page) features only solid, pure, traditional country and honky-tonk. “This is the way country music was meant to sound,” Wardle said.
The broadcast features many independent artists who carry on the tradition of real country music as well as a country classics segment and ends with some pure country gospel. He estimates that his audience for the most part is the crowd who appreciate country music’s roots. He plays music by Ray Price, Vern Gosdin, Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Leona Williams, Hank Locklin, Norma Jean, Ricky Van Shelton and Stonewall Jackson.
What makes a good DJ in any genre? Well, according to Wardle, “I really hardly do any talking other than historical data. I just focus on the music.”
He fondly remembers being a paperboy, noting that since department stores were only open late on Thursday nights, “the Wednesday papers carried all the circulars, and, boy, were they heavy.”