I’m not sure why an urban sophisticate such as I am is attracted Country/Western music, but I do. Not the current stuff, just as I don’t like current pop or rock music. I really like the older stuff though. Bob Wills, Hank Thompson, Hank Williams Sr, Lefty Frizzell, Marty Robbins, Patsy Cline, and on and on. I can, and do, listen to them all as much as I can.
I’m a real sucker for fiddle music for some reason. Go figure.
I really started to listen to Country/Western when I was given a subscription to XM Radio a few years ago. After hunting around the channel selections I settled on XM 13 which is billed as traditional country. Which is where the radio pretty much sits all the time.
From what I can tell there are really four different flavors, but I’m definitely no expert. There’s “Nashville” sound and “Bakersfield” sound, although unlike “East Coast” and “West Coast” rappers the proponents of each side don’t seem to shoot each other over which music is best. Then there’s “Western Swing” which was country music, but not “Cowboy Music”. Maybe the experts can tell me if I’m right on that.
So, Bob Wills was one of the big movers behind Western Swing, but also was a heavy influence on the Bakersfield Sound. The recently departed Eddie Arnold was an early heavy hitter in the development of the Nashville Sound. Cowboy Music goes back to Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, was carried on by Marty Robbins, and now seems to be mostly sung by Red Steagall. Who also does Western Swing.
Then there’s Jerry Lee Lewis. Started as a Rocker, became a Country singer, but still not one of my favorites. Mickey Gilley is a cousin who has a very similar style, and yet I like his stuff. Only he started as a Country singer and moved on to Pop.
Which actually brings up a point, finally. There’s a lot of cross over between Country, Rock, and Pop. Often the arrangement and the singer are the only differences from one to the other. I find it funny when someone says they don’t like Country Music, only to hear them say that one of their favorites started out as a Country/Wester song.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Chances are that anyone who reads this blog knows way more than I do about this stuff.
One last note. If I were President I’d sign an executive order prohibiting anyone from covering a Patsy Cline song. Silly, I know but voices just don’t get better than hers was.