Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A country music grey area

Am I the only person in the world who neither hates nor worships country music? Surely there are others like me, who like country music as a form of folk music, but isn't obsessed with it. Frankly, I don't believe that the average country music fan is obsessive- which is an insulting thing to say to any sort of fan. My guess is that the people who hate country music see those who actually like it as being foreign and strange, and therefore extremist and scary.

You know how different and dangerous go together.

Anyway... myself, I prefer country music from the '30s to the '50s- and then I go on to the country rock of Buffalo Springfield and The Eagles, and to a certain extent, Creedence Clearwater Revival. I don't think country music with syrupy production, poppy sentimental melodies and chord structures, and an overall lack of rough edges is truly pure country music. Most modern "country" music is pop music with the same old dark tenor vocal with a Texan accent and maybe a Telecaster lead guitar. To me, that's country-inspired music... country pop, you could say. To me, it's only country music if you keep the chords simple.

That said, I'm also interested in alternative country- if most alternative country bands sounded like Danny Hamilton and the Mudslingers, that is.

A lot of my admiration for country music comes from the fact that my maternal grandfather comes from Arkansas, I suspect. That, and my maternal grandparents live out in a small city near So-Cal's mountains, which is locally famous for its cherries, and they not only regularly visit a nearby town famous for its apples (Oak Glen), they have their own garden, which includes fruits, nuts, and vegetables. I visit them several times a year, so I've often been surrounded by a world rooted in the Old West and the Deep South.
My profound interest in music also compels me to understand one of the many roots of rock 'n' roll, so I've done a fair bit of research into older country music. Hank Williams and other country blues yodelers is probably my favorite, while I'm astounded that more of today's guitarists aren't aware of the incredible electric virtuosos of the '50s. I mean, these guys were like the first shredders, a lot of 'em. I can't imagine why no guitar instrumental revivalists or psychobilly nutcases seem to be picking them up...

I wonder if country music haters are only hearing bad country music. It can be awfully corny if poorly performed...

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