I hope my mom knows how much I love her - I not only downloaded about 85 country songs for her upcoming birthday, but I am now listening to them to make sure they’re okay (well, the first line of most of them, cause that’s all I can stand). AAAAGGGGHHHHH!!! I freakin’ hate country! And we’re not talking country I can almost tolerate like Garth Brooks and Randy Travis, either - we’re talking George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, Charley Pride country. I am sacrificing here, people. I’m going to start chawin’ tobaccy and drivin’ a pick-up soon.
On the upside, some of the Dixie Chicks stuff isn’t half bad. If only their lead singer could sing a little better.
I’ll have to delete all this crap off my iTunes so it doesn’t show up in my party shuffle. Blecch. Just wanted to share my pain here.
Wow, I don’t know if I should Pit you, or pity you. You have named some of the best in the buisness. Try some Hank Williams (not Hank Jr.). Listen to the words of Johnny Cash. Hell, if you just want good vocals, listen to the Gatlin Brothers.
Some of the best Country music is about people in pain. Don’t just judge it by what your friends say about the genre. Try to hear the lyrics. You may become a fan. If all else fails, listen to a Marshall Tucker album and call me in the morning.
I don’t know or care what my friends think about country - you may have me confused with a teenager. It is my least favourite genre of music, mostly because, in my opinion, it is by far the least creative. It doesn’t matter to me that I may have named some of the best in the business; these are the people my parents forced me to listen to my whole childhood (along with Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, etc.). I don’t dismiss country music because I don’t know it; I dismiss it because I don’t like it.
I’m not keen on The Marshall Tucker Band. I don’t have much of a taste for that over-wrought, down-home, Southern-Fried crap (Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc.) either.
I admit I have a soft spot in my heart for old (80’s & 90’s) country music… it was the first music I was ever exposed to. It doesn’t show up much in my music library, because by and large I prefer classic and alternative rock.
But I do have a lot of George Straight and a lot of Garth Brooks. I would say George Straight is my favorite. I’m also partial to Mary Chapin Carpenter because she’s got such a smart-ass voice. Mostly it’s about nostalgia for me. I remember running around my grandparents’ living room singing ‘‘Diggin’ Up Bones’’ and ‘‘On the Other Hand’’ by Randy Travis when I was about 4. In the interest of full disclosure I will also confess that I listen to old Christian rock albums for the same nostalgic reason, despite the fact that I’m not Christian any more… and sometimes the songs will move me to tears.
What I really appreciate the most about country music is that it gives more voice to working class people than almost any other genre that I’ve been exposed to. I love to listen to songs about truckers and farmers because working class people are almost invisible if you listen to the Billboard Top 100 nowadays. Country music by and large gives ordinary people the respect they deserve, so every now and then I’ll sit down and put on some country music and get in touch with my roots.
On the other hand, most of the country stuff they play nowadays makes me squeal in pain (I’m looking at you, Toby Keith & Dixie Chicks). So in a way, I feel how you may be suffering. It sucks to have to listen to stuff you hate–whether it’s Hank Williams, Jr. or The Smashing Pumpkins (one of my most loathed bands.)
Check out Lyle Lovette. He does country, has great lyrics and his band absolutely smokes. He also does some big band stuff sometimes.
I pretty much hated country until a girlfriend of mine took me to see Lyle Lovette at the Paulo Solari in Sante Fe. It is in the top three shows I have ever seen and I have seen a ton of shows. He just rocks.
Lou, I hated country most of my life too, for pretty much the same reason: my dad listened to it when I was a kid in the late 60s/early 70s, and on top of that it all sounded the same to me: your “least creative.” But then, in the 80s, I heard k.d. lang, and Dwight Yoakam. They were sufficiently postmodern–they both seemed to be commenting on country as an old form of music as much as they were singing it (I was an art student and approached things analytically like that, so their pomo approach attracted me), that I found myself appreciating them. Once inoculated to the “sound” of country by learning to like k.d. and Dwight, I discovered what I hated about the country I hated: the post-Kenny Rogers stuff that you, unlike I, can stomach: the Garth Brooks garbage: it was just so terribly emotionally dishonest, and polished-pop-pablum, that it made me cringe to listen to it. Dwight’s winking celebration of the old-time twang made me see what was so great about it: the emotional intensity that a mastery of such “high lonesome” vocals can add to a song about heartache. My favorite k.d. songs, also, were little melodramatic twang-operas about loss and jealousy. But because those two artists allowed me to still laugh at the style while I was learning to love it, they didn’t scare me away. Anyway, from there I learned the greats: k.d. sent me on a Patsy Cline expedition, and Dwight led me to the greatness that is Buck Owens. And so the floodgates. Now, as long as I can sense some emotional honesty in the the song, the twang just amplifies it somehow. But the artists you dismiss in your OP are, truly, among the greats. I hope you can find a way, some day, to give yourself the gift of learning to love great country music.
The honesty, creativity, and the humor in the lyrics is there, but I can’t get over the literally depressing music behind most of it. It make me want to crawl under a rock and die, and I’m only exaggerating slightly.
I like bluegrass and some really old country (up to and some of the early 80s,) but the new stuff has hardly any redeeming qualities while extolling a way of life I can’t identify with.
I never liked country till I lived in Nashville. Now I love it, mainly because it sounds so damned good live. My preference is for the older stuff - Johnny, Willie etc… But, I am a big George Strait fan, even some of his newer stuff, Brad Paisley always makes me smile, and I will even confess a guilty pleasure for Toby Keith.
Hi Campion. I’m a recent convert to country and have been looking for a nice country bar in LA, which has proved more difficult that I thought. All I’ve found so far is The Mint which does a country night once a month. Any suggestions? I’m in the South Bay area, but am willing to drive a bit. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
I never listened to it much until about 15 years ago. Then I got a job where the other workers liked it, so it was on all day. I got used to it, and ended up liking some. I still listen to it from time to time.
You didn’t ask, featherlou, but I’ll drop in some suggestions that you may find tolerable–these are not the typical twangy “trucks, dogs, trains, and women” country songs:
I agree with those who like Mary Chapin Carpeter’s voice–songs like “Grow Old Along with Me” and “This Shirt” aren’t exactly country, but they do show her voice off nicely. Kathy Mattea too–sure she’s well-known for “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” but try “Where’ve You Been” for a different take on what she can do. And for CanCon, you can’t forget Michelle Wright–another great voice. Try her “Take It Like a Man,” or for a tear-jerker of another sort, “He Would Be Sixteen.”
I have to leave this post with a joke I heard all those years ago:
Q–When you play a rock song backwards, you get satanic messages. What do you get when you play a country song backwards?
You get your truck back, your dog back, your wife back…
I too like the old stuff. The type of country that I hate to no end is the over the top political americana pandering. You the know the type the super patriotic songs like Lee Greenwood’s: God Bless the USA. He seems to have started the shit storm. Patriotic songs are all the rage with country music stars. Why can’t they go back to their roots… wife ran off, dog got killed, got drunk/into a fight in a bar etc. For God’s sake look at some of the titles of these songs!
Aaron Tippin - Where The Stars And Stripes And The Eagle Fly
Randy Travis - America Will Always Stand
Phil Vassar - American Child
Blackhawk - Days Of America
The Charlie Daniels Band - This Ain’t No Rag, It’s A Flag
The Warren Brothers - Hey Mr. President
David Ball - Riding With Private Malone
Kenny Rogers - Homeland
Toby Keith - Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue
Aaron Tippin - Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly
Give me Hank, Hank Jr, Willie, George Strait; even Garth brooks any day over the Toby Keiths and the Kenny Chesneys of today.
It’s been said before: if George Jones isn’t God, then who is?
I’ve found that my tastes in country music fall along the Nashville/Austin divide. Country music from Nashville tends to really suck. I agree with the OP when it comes to most Nashville music. Country music from Austin tends to be great. It’s some of my favorite music.