Jay Jones said he remembers when every town had two or three country bands.
“We played all over,” he said. “Jansen, Hebron, Beatrice. It wasn't hard to find a country band for a Friday or Saturday night.”
That was before karaoke became popular in about 1997, he said.
There is now little demand for a country band, and most of the people who played in the local bands have died, 63-year-old Jones said. But the music hasn't died in Fairbury. The VFW hosts “The Countrymen” – Jones plays lead guitar in the band – the first Saturday of each month. The pay for the monthly concert is donations at the door, Jones said, plus the joy of keeping country music alive.
“We play old traditional country,” Jones said. “The old bar-type music like Hank Williams.”
The group, who practices about once a month in a garage, also plays songs in the genres of polka and waltz in addition to audience favorites.