Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ma' Made A Lot Of Quiche On The Farm

A colleague at work today told me that when he was young he was eating quiche and told his uncle that he did not like it. His uncle simply replied to him with "It's like country music, you will like it when you are older." What his uncle had meant by that was that it's one of those things that when you get older you begin appreciate it and maybe will like it. My colleague told me this after I had told him what I was going to write about in my next article for SPUN. If you haven't already guessed it, the article is aimed at defending country music. I know a lot of you think I have lost my mind, being a self proclaimed "Rocker!" and all but it comes down to roots for me personally, at least that's why I think I get it anyway. A good friend of mine told me once, that everyone in music has roots. I couldn't agree more. I am a self proclaimed rocker. However before I was introduced to Poison, GNR and Motley Crue at a very young age, my roots were firmly cemented in "County & Western". See a little background here... I grew up in a town of 10,000 people called Weyburn Sk (Please don't hold it against me!) where there was a boat load of different genre's of music... boat load of top forty mind you but a boatload none the less. That being said, my father grew up in a town of 250 people... tiny. I spent a lot of my time there at my grandparents, different aunt and uncle's farms and later had permanent friends there. I always felt a special connection to that place (Pangman Sk) and often times think back to it. Country music and hard work is Pangman. I always felt that Pangman and surrounding towns were the province's heartland. Well to a sheltered boy from Weyburn it really seemed that way and in a way still does. I think I get my country roots from growing up in Pangman/Weyburn mixed with my mother and grandmother in Weyburn's love for the Grand Old Opry, the local radio station CFSL and my Uncle Dale whom played in bands for years and had a hero by the name of Merle Haggard. That's my roots!

As I grew up and discovered rock n roll, how I loved it and much I had in common with it. It was easy to go with the crowd and say they I disliked or even hated the music I was raised on. I have always loved rock n roll regardless if it was my aunts Buddy Holly cassette or my infatuation with 1987's original motion picture "La Bamba", it was country music I was raised on and I turned my back to it. It took me a long time to realize that I didn't hate country music, that it was really brainwashing of sorts.

I think people often keep this mentality quite often into adulthood or even worse forever. To have such a great despise for an entire genre is ridiculous, and it's those people I have aimed this article at. I can see where rap and metal do not have as much in common with country music but even still, to write off an entire genre? What floors me even more is the people that like top 40 pop and rock n roll. So much of it is similar, the melodies, similar chord progressions and even lyrics. Don't give me that "My dog ran away, my wife left me, I'm broke" crap because sit down and listen to the music you love and tell me it doesn't speak ninety percent about hard times, bad luck, money or love. The sound is not all that different, some even cross over. Tell me that The Georgia Satellites, CCR, Jackson Browne or even The Eagles were not county... sure The Eagles and JB were "California Country", but try again... country none less.

There is what I like to call "Real County" and "Pop Country". Now I always tell people I am a fan of real country. See I don't think Shania or Big & Rich are country at all. That being said it's not all the Willie, Waylon, Merle and Johnny era. There have been a lot of great country artists over the years. What about Dwight Yoakam, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and my personal favorite Steve Earle. I used to say that that is when it died, that the 80's/90's had the last of the great country artists. Not true however, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban can shred! It is in my humble but accurate opinion that in general country guitar players are the best guitar players out there. Think of the slide work and double picking alone which lets them stand out over the average guitar player. They never get recognized for it though. Those boys know how to write a good song too. There is a little band from not all too far from these parts named Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans that have been gaining quite the notoriety around these here parts as of late. Maybe you have heard of them.

There are plenty of rock stars that pass off country as rock n roll too. Try Soul Asylum's "Brand New Shine" or The Gin Blossom's "Cheatin'". Ok, maybe you don't know those but Kiss's "Hard Luck Woman" must ring a bell? Hell, even the late great Ray Charles put out entire records of "Country & Western".

Tell me you don't love Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" or Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues"?

Now surely it's not all good by any stretch, but either is rock n roll... at all. Hedley, Theory Of A Deadman or Good Charlotte anyone? Yet I am constantly baffled and reminded of people who state "I hate country music!".

Think of this way... Rock N Roll as a lot more sub genres to weed out what you don't want to here, for example emo. Where as country (my favorite kind of tree) blends a lot more, enabling the listener to stereotype a lot easier. Country music doesn't hold your hand and point you in the right direction, sometimes you just have to look at a map.

So as I sit here, listening to the Dirt Band getting ready to play Farm Town on facebook thinking to myself, what someone told me today "Kent, I also heard a quote. "Real men don't eat quiche."". I know I don't agree with it and am going to ask for a large helping at my first opportunity to try it.


Still a Rocker! (just going to eat quiche once in a while)

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