Thursday, 9 September 2004
|0040 - What, me country?|
My musical tastes have always been in the particular pigeonhole the radio industry calls "classic rock". I had a rather eye-opening experience tonight: there's good stuff out there being made in the name of country music.
Jimmy Kimmel's musical guest tonight was country singer Tim McGraw. I'd expected the stuff that was labeled country when I was growing up, best characterized in a cartoon that I can't recall anything more about than the punchline: "bwanga twanga Better shut your face, buddy, before I ram this beer can up your nose!". What I got was stuff that was much closer to rock than country. Good stuff.
I told Jimmy that I'd have to lay hands on a copy of the album. He gave me the one he was holding up for the camera. (After he was finished holding it up.) He said that a lot of the band members grew up listening to the classics of rock...just like I had. I talked to a couple of the band members after the show, and they confirmed that, and not a few of them had been playing in rock bands before joining McGraw. One said he was as proud of the work they'd done as anything else he'd ever played, and I have to agree with him.
Guess I'm gonna have to punch up the modern country channel on my XM while driving down the road and see what else I'm missing.
current mood: surprised
current music: Tim McGraw - How Bad Do You Want It
Tim McGraw is not "good stuff."
If you want to listen to good stuff being made in the name of country music, listen to any and all of the following:
The Old 97s
Townes Van Zandt
Jimmie Dale Gilmore (Mark it zero, dude.)
Just for a start.
Theres still a whole lot of twangy, ultra-nasal crap in country, but there's a lot of decent music, too...
Rock/pop -> country transition
I think that country is where a bunch of people went to escape rap, making modern country very different from what country music was a few decades ago. (OTOH, people have been making the rock/pop -> country move for a while, which punches at least a small hole in my theory.) Some folks think that's a bad thing; I would at least hope that there's a place for classic country.
OTOH, goodness knows that country has influenced rock, too, vide the Byrds, Pure Prairie League, the Flying Burrito Brothers, etc.
Dunno if you read my LJ entry that mentioned Bering Strait, but you should give their CD a try. If you can appreciate beautifully-expressed despair, check out Alison Krauss's Forget About It; it's a female equivalent of Chris Isaak's Forever Blue, and might pull you into bluegrass if you're not careful. :)
Re: Rock/pop -> country transition
Krauss' tracks on the "O Brother Where Art Thou?" soundtrack were great. They're on my iPod.
Country music has got better throughout the years, but I still cannot get into it. I don't even judge people that do like it. In my opinion, there is alot better music out there than country. I cannot imagine being JUST a country music fan. Besides that, Going to country music clubs & line dancing is not my bag of chips.
I can't imagine being Just an any kind of music fan. There's too much good music out there to limit oneself (as a listener, at least; performers typically specialize at least to an extent). My ideal is that of the intro to Schickele Mix
: "..dedicated to the proposition that all musics are created equal, or as Duke Ellington put it, 'If it sounds
good, it is
From my perspective (and you can get a better opinion on this from musicians), the line between country music and *early* rock 'n roll, say, before the British Invasion, was not all that great. Some of Elvis Presley's early stuff, for example. In effect, that class of popular music hasn't changed all that much in many years, which, in my view, is a good thing, as most of the types you hear on country music stations are (a) better musicians and (b) better vocalists. And, perhaps (c) and (d) better composers and lyricists.