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Columbia Native's Country Music Dream Lasts a Lifetime

Bemo Prince, at the mic, with some of his band members.
Courtesy of the artist
Bemo Prince, at the mic, with some of his band members.

Country music finds fans in a variety of ways, most often by either hearing the music on the radio or seeing country artists play live.  That's the way Bemo Prince of Columbia became a country music fan.  "My daddy took me to hear...Snuffy Jenkins and the Hired Hands, and I was hooked."

Prince lists Merle Haggard, George Jones and Willie Nelson among the greats of country music and his personal favorites as well.  But one name stands above them all: Hank Williams.  He saw the biographical movie "Your Cheatin' Heart" when he was 15 , and that turned his fandom into a desire to be a country entertainer himself, "and I put a lot of effort in that dream." 

He began to write songs, and eventually went to Nashville to try to make a career in country music.  But a bad experience there, added to the responsibilities of family, caused him to put aside his dream - for four decades.

Meeting an old friend's son who was a record producer led to Prince's recording an album, jokingly titled "Has-Been That Never Was," 40 years after he had given up his country dream.  Prince says now his grandchildren will have a literal record of the career their grandfather tried to pursue in his youth.  

Prince feels modern country has become more of a "production," more flash than substance, at the moment.  But he said he believes eventually the wheel of life will turn and country will return to its traditional sound again.  "What's old is new again."