Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The old country

If I had to categorically say what genre of music I hated the most, I would say country.

The cheesy accents, the superficial lyrics, the sissy man-voice – it immediately hurts my ears and I have no choice but obnoxiously scream, MAKE IT GO AWAY!!! MAKE IT GO AWAY!!! AHHHHH!!!

Even the name Brad Paisley I find annoying.

As such, when I visited Nashville two weeks ago and was told I was going to the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame, I was like, no way, man...country music is STUPID.

As it turns out, I was stupid. I was incorrectly equating today’s country music with all country music.

Tisk Tisk.

Saying, “I hate country music” or “country music makes me want to vomit” isn’t really fair now.

Because old school country music is nothing like the crap that’s on the radio today!!

Let me prove it: I listened to a Conway Twitty CD on the drive home to New Orleans and didn’t want to vomit once!

It was a miracle!!!

After a two-hour tour of the museum, I now have a newfound respect for the genre, although let’s be honest, the music kind of went to shit in the1970s (uh, pretty much everything on the left side of the third floor).

Still, I was so impressed (especially with the yodeling that accompanied many songs) that I actually took pictures of people’s immortalized faces in the hall of fame.

The thing I found so touching is that country music started from ridiculously humble beginnings – like the poor kid who banged on a bucket with a stick, for example, and he grew up to be Chet Atkins.

Or the gospel choir that JUST WANTED TO SING outside of church and all loaded into a cart and drove into town and came up with the world’s first honky tonk.

Many country stars were very poor and their simple music reflected that. And I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the beginnings of country sound a lot like the blues, which I love.

(I guess back then they had more problems than a BBQ stain on a white T-shirt.) Ha.

I learned about how country music got popular during the depression because people could relate to its downtrodden lyrics and then people started honky tonking at circuses and carnivals and then it got popular on the radio.

(Um, disclaimer, I’m not Wikipedia. Don’t cite any of this in your term papers, kids).

I’ve never been to a music museum before, unless you count the Hard Rock Café, which you shouldn’t, and this one was awesome.

There was a ton of memorabilia like actual blue suede shoes and people’s original guitars (so they say) and Elvis’ gold limousine.

I saw a taped interview with Dolly Parton about her song Jolene, which has long been one of the only exceptions to my “I hate country” attitude.

Dolly said Jolene was the name of a little girl and small fan of hers, the most beautiful little girl Dolly had ever met.

After signing her record, Dolly asked her name and said it was the most beautiful name she’d ever heard. She told her to listen for a song called Jolene in the future.

...and Dolly has never heard from that girl again, even though in interviews she’s been like, “Jolene are you out there??? Call me.”

(You can cite that, kids.)

Even after being enlightened by the history of country music, I’m still not a fan of today’s country, which was put to the test when my twin sister, Joy, put on a song recently.

“MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!” I screamed.

“Listen to this one,” she said. “I’m POSITIVE you’ll like it. It’s called ‘Louisiana woman, Mississippi man.’”

“I know that song!!!” I said all proud. “Conway Twitty yea!”


Carrie fucking Underwood.



1 comment:

  1. Love it.

    It is a stated goal of my own blog to rescue country music from itself. I'm across the river from you and everybody knows that blues music is Mississippi music but, Jimmie Rodgers is from here too. Country and blues...and consequently rocknroll...are really inseparable.

    To the point, when people heard Jimmie Rodgers on the radio...most thought he was black.

    The last thirty years for country music hasn't been a complete wash.


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