Monday, April 14, 2008

An Appreciation of Country Music

Weightstaff Note: New posts on The Weight have been few and far between lately. Having to turn the lights on in The Weight office tonight, with no other staff around, was kind of depressing. We let our secretary go because of nothing left to do or file and the maintenance guy stopped showing up because there was no trash to throw out. So I'm hear to try to breathe new life into this thing.

I was one of those people who, when asked what kind of music do you listen to, would proudly answer everything EXCEPT country. Country music seemed backwards and backwoods and steeped in the tradition of those with an IQ less than their age. But what I have come to learn about country music, is that real country music (I'm looking unenthusiastically at you Carrie Underwood), is about the truth and bared soul of American men and women who are just looking to get by and make sense of relationships, careers, and the meaning of life. And it appears country music embodies an authenticity representing the hopes and dreams, shattered or otherwise, of those who sing and play it.

What truly sparked my appreciation for country probably was Ryan Adams and his Heartbreaker album. Ryan's somewhat faux country drawl, especially on 'Oh, My Sweet Carolina' duetting with Emmylou Harris, was beautiful, fragile, poignant, funny, and uplifting. Ultimately, it was very unapologetic and unironic country music. From Ryan Adams, I began to see the beauty, spirit, and honesty in The Rolling Stones country tunes (Gram Parson's influence), The Band's more traditional songs, and pretty much all of the songs on American Beauty and Workingman's Dead by, well, The Dead. So if I get asked what kind of music I listen to nowadays, now I just answer: I listen to everything except for music that sucks. I try not to put anything into boxes.

Keith Richards and Norah Jones
at Return to Sin City, A Tribute to Gram Parsons
Love Hurts

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