moments before the wind.

August 10, 2006

the last remaining rose

Filed under: authenticity, country, marketing, music, reviews, writing — alimarcus @ 8:22 am

First things first:

Catch me tonight at Conor Byrne in Seattle at 9PM, I’ll be doing a set of mostly brand new songs. 9PM, Ballard. Come at least to buy a Turtle Rock t-shirt. They are so soft.

and also-

In thinking more about where country music went wrong, I wonder if Shania Twain should shoulder some of that responsibility. It always seemed, in the 90’s, like she was the quintessential pop country star, but I heard it on the radio yesterday and it sounds nothing like country music. Maybe I am still wrapped in the lovely hay of Pickathon, but I think maybe the only thing holding together good country with bad country (my own terms, of course), is a perception of social and cultural background. Maybe. More on this later.

4 Comments »

  1. eh, blame the marketing department at the record labels…”what do we call this? where do we tell the retailer to put this thang?” That’s all it is. Shania is pop. Mary J. Blige is pop. 50 cent is pop. the genre is arbitrary ‘cuase the format and style is the same…verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, extended chorus, vamp, fade. give me $15 dollars, thank you.

    Comment by Forrest — August 10, 2006 @ 8:54 am

  2. i think i’m still wrapped in the lovely hay of pickathon too. soft sigh, and ponies lot’s of ponies.

    bad country gives good country a bad name. i agree…country music has a certain stigmata about it…whether it’s a social thing (although white trash has a sort of chic-ness about it now, which I blame reality TV for, but that’s a whole other discussion) people get around it by using the sub genres without having to say they “like country” even if it is really all country music: nashville sound, western, alt country, and the whole realm of old-time, folk, folk-rock, Appalachian and bluegrass stuff and there’s a lot more like honky-tonk and rockabilly. I think we get stuck in the semantics of it all…and the mainstream stuff is so often referred to as “country” even though it is really (for lack of a better word) “pop country.” The carter family (country’s first family) would be rolling in their graves if they thought any of their music was considered influential in the creation of such crap. My 2 cents, which isn’t worth much in the candy store these days.

    Comment by kc — August 10, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

  3. Hey, blame it all on the business. Play Waylon Jennings for even the most hardcore rap fan and they will be blown away by the way he spits those lyrics and tells those stories. The little taglines that get attached to music is just about working an angle, why do you work an angle? Why to build the value, and the value lies in the monetary value…namely to the one who invested money to make the recording/rehearse the band/bill the performance. The fact that “Alternative Rock” became an accepted moniker allowed for anything to be called anything. I mean, alternative to what? That was the mainstream, this so-called alternative rock. It’s all noise to me, but it’s hard to catalogue or advertise noise to anyone in particular, but it is easy to target a demographic of consumers with something like “post-pop punk” or “jam-rock” or “lounge-trip-hop” or “melodic hardcore”. you should check out http://www.cornmealinthekitchen.com, the home site of Chicago’s tastiest bluegrass band Cornmeal. They are one of the best ’round. The Carters were only influential in terms of the lifestyle and the fame. Tim McGraw doesn’t listen to Johnny Cash. He listens to Garth Brooks, himself, and Kenny Chesney. You don’t really need much listening education when you don’t write songs that are all delivered in the same fashion. Do you ever feel like people just love to lie to theyselves? 🙂

    Comment by Forrest — August 10, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

  4. Forrest is pretty right about the Carter Family, they were super pop back in the day, definitely qualify as mainstream. Part of this country debate is that calling something “Pop,” like pop country, is supposed to be an insult, but it’s not. It’s some kind of residual alternative culture thing, it’s sort of rockism, though that word is a bitch to unwind. I think we idealize the Carter Family, and would completely believe that back then, there were counter-culturites who turned their noses up in favor of more obscurity. But I also love them. I actually really like a lot of Shania Twain, late 90’s stuff. It’s really fun.

    This feels like a chicken-and-egg problem. Have I said that already? The genre defines the sound when the sound is supposed to define the genre, but also the sound defines the genre when the genre is supposed to define the sound. Mobia strip.

    Comment by alimarcus — August 10, 2006 @ 3:30 pm


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