So What Is Country Music ?

Who would have that answer? Who gets to say? I wonder why Elvis was rock and roll, and so is Led Zeppelin and so is  Tom Petty. They are all different, and that genre has moved and changed but everything from the Everly Brothers to Buddy Holly to the Allman Brothers are considered rock. Soul and R/B don’t seem to have this Dilemma.

So why does country? What constitutes real country from well, everything else. Eddie Rabbit was from New Jersey, the great great hall of fame writer Harland Howard was born in Detroit. Hank Williams Sr was definitely country but what about Jim Reeves or Eddy Arnold? By the time those two guys hit a stride that sounded a lot more like they were going for the Frank Sinatra crowd. How about Kenny Rogers? He was sure different from George Jones or Gene Watson or Buck Owens.

It can’t be lyric. There just aren’t that many topics to write about. We all fall in and out of love. So heartache and happiness are in everyone’s lives. Is it the way it’s told? Maybe it’s the instruments? Rock players don’t usually use a pedal steel guitar, but wait neither does Willie Nelson, so that’s out. Is Willie country?

But as most of us get older we start drawing lines that we didn’t draw earlier. So the new stuff is harder for me to gravitate to, and maybe that’s some of the subject matter. I’m a long way from high school and the market is sure geared for a young audience. I was talking to hall of fame writer Bob McDill one day and mentioned that I thought maybe back in the day it was country people writing about life. Writing about all the things folks go through and that now it’s folks writing about a “concieved” country life, where they have a grocery list of things like pick up trucks, pigs in the ground, strippers on party boats, Mom, dogs oh yeah and of course church. Each of those subjects are fine to write about but you don’t have to list every last one of them in every last song ! McDill nodded and grinned, saying he understood, but that we all get older and the market gets younger…

I realize this isn’t a subject a lot of folks spend much time thinking about and hopefully I will give it less attention tomorrow than today. I like the way folks in Texas generally look at music. If they like they don’t really give a damn what you call it ! So I guess we should all but the stuff we like and don’t buy the stuff we don’t like , which is really what we’d do anyway, we just like to have an opinion!!!


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