Thursday, July 08, 2004

Why the Hell do you listen to Country Music?

I get asked this all the time. On the surface, it seems strange that a guy that's musically educated and literate would prefer country music. After all, the stereo type says that country music is for idiots.

For one, I listen to popular music mostly for the lyrics. I have to, because the music just sucks. You see, all modern music is recorded at the same volume. This is good for you folks in cars, because you don't have to turn up, or down, the stereo. The music just trolls along at what ever level you told it too.

This completely destroys music for me. You're taking away one of the most basic variables in all of sound. Well.. maybe I should back up...

Music is expressed in three basic ways... Pitches change, rythmns change, and volume changes. Yes I am aware that that is a gross simplification. Shut up and wait your turn. Now imagine if you will, what music would be like if you took pitch change out of it. Or took Rythmn out of it. It would suck right? Nod your head and pretend to understand dammit. Good.

Ok so now I turn on the radio... and I hear this little accoustic intro... more and more instruments are added... but the volume stays the same. ***poof*** whatever I was listening to just turned to elevator music. Music today is written, performed, and recorded in such a fashion as to require as little effort on the listener as possible. Its litterary equivilent would be the "The Foot Book".

So since the music sucks, I turn off that part of my brain, and focus on the only thing left: Lyrics.

Now when lyrics are what you are paying attention to, you have to relate well to what the guy is singing about. So do I relate to some 20 year old idiot whining about his daddy not being home enough? Well no. I wanna choke the little bastard.

In some Country Music, men are still men. Trace Atkins. Montgomery - Gentry. George Straight. Lyle Lovett. Chris Ledoux. Johnny Cash. Hank Williams Sr.

They sing songs about me, and my friends, and people I can relate too. They sing about my home. I know you think country music is about drinkin', and redneck games... and thank God it is, but there is a lot more to it. Go look up some lyrics from Hank Sr. There's a reason he was called the Hillbilly Shakespear. If you really think you're to smart for Country, look up Lyle Lovett. He'll be glad to educate you on songwriting. I'll leave you with this:

Silence on the Line, by Chris Ledoux

Took my last fall in san diego
Bus headed north one headed south
I call a farm in colorado
And i lift a dusty pay phone to my mouth

She says hello i say it's me hon
Sorry i stayed away so long
Tell the kids thier old man's through with playin' rodeo
Cause if it's alright with you i'm comin' home

Well there's silence on the line
She says you sure did take your time
But i still need a man for the things a man is good for
You know how it is raisin' crops and raisin' kids
Demands a man at least as fit as you are
So come on git on home there's hay that needs a mowin'
A boy that needs a whippin' and a hundred things to do
I hope you've finally found your mind
To leave that rodeo behind
I've spent half my life just waitin' here for you

I guess that nows the time i'd better tell her
Hon i've got this friend that's here with me
He used to be a cowboy and a good one so they say
But now his legs are crippled he can't walk you see
But hon you ought to hear him tell his stories
Sing the old songs play the guitar too
I'd really like to show him colorado
But i thought i'd better leave it up to you

Well there's silence on the line
And now i hear her sayin'
Babe i only need a man for the things a man is good for
And you know how it is a place just half this big
Demands a man at least as fit as you are
Put yourself in his place it'd awful hard to face
All the chores and work and nothing he could do
If you want to know my mind leave that rodeo bum behind
Don't waste our time i'm waitin' here for you

Well cryin's just for kids i put down the phone
Fumble with my crutches movin' slow
I wish that i was on the bus that's colorado bound
And i hope the weather's nice in mexico

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