Yeehaw!! I’m goin’ country today y’all! Country music is a music style that is appealing because of its stories. There is so much feeling in the words that you can imagine yourself in the delicately woven, melodramatic, complicated lives of the singers and the tale that they sing about.
I enjoyed a first hand experience with the simplicity of living in the south when I was in 4th and 5th grade. We moved to Batesville, Arkansas because my Granny had moved down that way. I loved the culture immediately and decided to “go country”. I picked up the southern accent and had a desire to wear cowboy boots (although I don’t think I ever did). I recorded a few country songs onto a blank tape…not the sticky kind of tape for you youngens out there, but the kind that you could listen to music on. I took my tape player with me and played the songs over and over and over again until I could recite all the words. Now and again, my country accent comes out and my kids think I’m weird.
Most country music originated in the south. It has existed for hundreds of years in different forms, but it became popular in the 1920’s where the compilation of American Folk music, blues, and Western Cowboy music merged. Yes, jazz played a role in the creation of American country music! The early country music consisted of mainly stringed instruments like banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, fiddles, and also harmonicas. Later, the drums were introduced, but many people refused to allow them. By the 1960’s country music declined in popularity because rock ‘n roll took center stage. However, Willie Nelson, Hank WIlliams Jr, Johnny Cash, and the like brought country music back into the spotlight.
In the 1990’s, country music was heard on more of the FM radio stations, which led to an explosion of artists broadening the field. American Idol introduced the world to some new faces like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift in the 2000’s. Like Jazz, Country music has so many styles it is tough to talk about them all. Here are a few: Western Swing, Rockabilly, Hillibilly Boogie, Bluegrass, Folk, Gospel, Honky Tonk, Countrypolitan, Country Soul, Country Rock, Outlaw Country, Country Pop, and many more.
The next time you are driving in your car, switch to a country station and “go country” with me! Especially, if you are in need of some music to remind you that your life ain’t half as bad as you think. See y’all next time!
Alan Jackson “Gone Country” http://youtu.be/OGUXFHrj9YA