Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lonesome Cowboy - Presented by Frank Lowe - Shares Romantic Drama and Inspirational Story...

He knew he should never have come back here. The fogged mirror in the dressing room reminded Cowboy Red of two things. They'll either arrest him for kidnapping, or they'll arrest him for murder. Red took a long drag on his cigarette, exhaled through his nostrils and stubbed the butt in the ashtray. He grabbed a towel, attacking the moisture on his neck and under his arms. The air conditioning was losing the battle against the late summer humidity.
The pressure of two strong hands on his shoulders caused him to jump. The young man's smile appeared in the mirror above Red's face. "You got two steel bars here. "What's going on? You been tense ever since we got here." Red tried to relax into the gentle massage, "Think about it, dad. I mean, aside from the money, there's all this publicity." The young man teased, "You ought to be happy I got us this gig..."
The Blue Ridge Boys opening act blasted over the dressing room speaker as Red pulled his jeans from the hanger and stepped into them..."Dad, I'm sorry I nagged you into taking this gig but it'll be over in a week...
That wasn't what bothered Red. It was this town and the ghosts of the past that could get raked up; a past Red hadn't had the courage to share with his son...

Lonesome Cowboy

By Frank Lowe

The lights on the stage went out. A spotlight speared a shaft of light on two microphones at the front of the stage. Out of the darkness Red and Kyle emerged, coming into sharper focus as they entered the brilliant pool of light. The volume of the applause startled them. It gradually grew louder as others congregated at the outdoor arent. They'd never played to an audience this size. Their act had none of the flash and fireworks of the bigger country-western acts. There was no backup band, no light show, no dancing Cowgirls. Red's ex-manager had suggested that Red ought to move around the stage more; put a little action into the act. Red told him he wanted people to listen, not watch him cuttin' up all over the place like he had worms.
They raised their guitars. With an imperceptible nod from Red they dove into their opening number, a fast, hard driving rendition of one of the old classics Red and Kyle did so well, but were rarely heard, "Wabash Cannonball."
...After their final number they bowed and turned to leave the stage. Kyle wasn't sure it would happen with this crowd. There was a smattering of applause which was overcome by the voices from the back of the crowd. Kyle relaxed. The chant was a familiar ritual, complicit between Red's fans and the performer; both knew the result. It started with a few voices and grew until male voices overwhelmed the feminent command, "Lonesome! Lonesome! Lonesome!"[Note that the song in the book is different from that song by Elvis, but just as beautiful...]
Kyle smiled at his father as he hung back at the edge of light. Red walked back to his microphone, nodded agreement and waited as the audience hushed in expectation. This was a song Red couldn't...wouldn't sing in this town. He had written it on the painful night twenty-five years ago; the night he had slipped away from her forever. He never thought it was much of a song. He never understood why people liked it so much, but the CD with "Lonesome Cowboy" on it outsold all their others. Kyle said it was the beautiful music, and way he sang it, like it was so personal.
Red turned, motioning Kyle to his microphone. Kyle shot him a quick, "What the hell?" glance as he obeyed. Red took off his Stetson and place it carefully on the back of Lyle's head. Kyle shot silent questions at his father. "Don't know how many times some of you have heard me sing that song, but none of you ever heard it this way. Go on, Kyle," Red backed into the darkness, leaving Kyle facing the hushed audience
Kyle had never sun this song in public, hardly ever done a solo. He took a deep breath, looked up in the light as he strummed the opening chords. It wasn't that he didn't know it. He had heard it every time they played a gig. In a firm voice, began the verse.
Been riding all night trying to forget
What we learned never could be.
He loved that moody, bluesy melody. As a kid Kyle had gone to every performance his mother would allow, singing along with Red as he watched.
Can't quit wonderin' where you are
Are you wanderin' a lonesome trail, too?
Red had taught him the guitar, encouraged him to wrong songs.
Lonesome Cowboy on a lonesome trail,
Without you, there's no home for me...

The first word  that comes to mind to describe this Drama is lovely...appealing to both men and women in sharing of deep love for both friends and loved ones. Although listed as a thriller--I would not consider it that, rather a family drama that has a number of fascinating characters, and two sets of cultural backgrounds that sets up a wall between two lovers. Can it be breached?

Kyle, the son of a country singer, becomes the primary character. He has admired and been best friends with his father since he was young and had quickly begun to learn guitar and sing with him. Then he had become their manager. Without knowing it, Kyle had scheduled them to play in Red's home town! With that, it brought not only an unexpected welcome for Red's return, but also many surprises for Kyle, one of which
was that they had been using an alias name!
Kyle was finding details out as old friends came to talk to Red and became more and more anxious about what had happened many years ago in this town...

Red had chosen not to sing Lonesome Cowboy for his own loss, but in having Kyle sing solo that first night, it started a following and subsequent movie career that may have fulfilled Kyle's long-term goals, but certainly made him realize that things were moving too fast... But there wasn't a choice now, for Red had a stroke and was rushed to the hospital, with the later recommendation that he give up working. Now Kyle was the only bread winner for the two of them...

Readers will like Kyle. While he's comfortable as his father's sidekick, he was not anxious to be on his own. Yet, because of his quiet, relaxed performances that complemented his beautiful voice and his good looks, his following of fans grew and grew. When he was offered a film, he felt he had to accept to keep money coming in. But even then, his warmth and kindness, plus his ability to speak Spanish, soon made he and the director friends. With his help, they were able to salvage a movie that really had less than a great story.

In the meantime, with the acceptance of Red's return, except by a few people who weren't well liked by the community, Kyle was able to continue their gig and the two men decided to make their stay permanent...

Which led to meeting Miranda and her wealthy family from Mexico. Kyle fell in love with Miranda at first sight. Without going into details, however, a tragedy occurred which resulted in the family's return to Mexico. He and Miranda kept in touch, but Miranda early had told Kyle that she would never be able to marry someone who was not Mexican... But Kyle was not willing to accept that decision...

The book has two sub-plots about love between men. This is the second book I've read with a similar theme where confusion has arisen, apparently because of the changes in homosexuality laws, that seems to have denigrated or sullied the potential of close friendships between men that has nothing to do with sex. How sad. Fortunately, the author has shown both the positive and negative sides so that readers realize that philia (friendship) love between men is quite natural and does not lead to eros (sexual) interaction. Kudos to the author for spotlighting this important matter.

Lowe's descriptive talent for the two primary settings, peopled with appropriate complementary characters moves this story forward in a gripping fashion to attract readers' immediate attention. The intrigue of the hidden as well as the continued movement by Kyle into new challenges kept my interest piqued and anxious. I'm not a fan of the usual soap opera drama common to television, so I do want to point out that the book is definitely family friendly and will reveal deep loves, family loyalty and dedication. A heartbreaking as well as heartwarming story well worth your consideration.


Frank Lowe is an actor, and published and produced playwright who lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Note: Branson was substituted for the fictional Wonderland because of the description in the book. The Hacienda is located in Mexico...

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