Garrett T Capps, honky tonk owner and cosmic country rocker, believes things are getting better. It’s not because of the things he sees on the news or social media, where he sees fear, division, and lies running rampant. Instead, he turns inward and, much as he suggests on his first track, uses hope as a religion.
“I don’t subscribe to organized religion, so hope seems like a good one,” Capps explained.
People Are Beautiful is an album of peaceful, soaring rock and deep gratitude. It’s a look inside the mind of a man who considers it normal to see the faces of dead people from his childhood and believes that even feeling pain is something worth being thankful for.
“Being thankful for being alive is something I try to practice all the time,” said Capps
A big part of that life worth savoring is great music. As the owner of The Lonesome Rose, Capps is constantly booking great acts, including a few I’ve been lucky enough to have on my radio show.
“I’ve always been pretty passionate about booking bands, going to concerts, and knowing about the history of the live music world,” Capps said.
He was able to find partners who wanted to open a honky tonk and became the creative force behind the operation.
“We have a little tiny disco ball that’s always on no matter what,” Capps said of the vibe. “It’s somewhere between a total dive, a rock bar, and a classic Texas honky tonk.”
The Lonesome Rose just celebrated its fourth year of operation with a show including artists like Dale Watson.
Capps’ lyrics are occasionally profound and unique, such as on the standout Happen Anytime where he’s hit with waves of truth and guilt. Other times, they’re more repetitive. But even on Time Will Tell, a song with exactly those three lyrics, there’s a statement being made. The cosmic country soundscape is gorgeous and there’s time to breathe and contemplate the statement. Capps is smart to have moments of relative quiet on the album. His guitar solos are rarely intense but instead contemplative and push the album forward gently, perfect for an album so focused on positivity, patience, and spirituality. A Better Place and People Are Beautiful do let him rock out a little more though.
Capps is at his most impressive on tracks People Are Beautiful because instead of providing examples of altruism and love, he’s showcasing pain and shitty behavior. His optimism and love for humanity are hard won and believable precisely because he acknowledges just how hard things can be sometimes. Instead of turning a blind eye to the pain, Capps is just grateful for it. When I asked him if all people are beautiful, he answered yes.
“It is beautiful to be a human being,” Capps said. “I think it’s the high road to take to realize that we are human beings trying to do our thing. Some people have a better moral compass than others, and some people are in better places than others, but personally I think everyone is beautiful, even the ugliest person in the world.”
Capps may be completely wrong to trust the species he considers beautiful. I’m more deeply suspicious of them as a whole, though there have certainly been moments where most of them have come together to do the right thing. There are still Ukrainian flags flying in my local shopping district. When those went up I was certainly feeling warm and fuzzy about my conservative neighbors for a while. I hope Capps is more right than my anxiety tells me to be. Time will tell.
Above is the full episode as aired on WUSB’s Country Pocket, including both my interview with Garrett and the songs we discussed, starting with Gettin’ Better, which begins the album. You can hear the show live every Monday at 11am on WUSB 90.1 FM or check the blog to watch it as a YouTube playlist. Visit http://www.WUSB.fm and https://garretttcapps.com for more. I’d especially advise you to click on Garrett’s website. It’s done up like it’s still the 1990s and displays his profoundly weird sensibilities.