Up front I’m going to state that I hate today’s country music. Now that I’ve said that don’t think that reading any further is going to make you feel better if you’re a fan of this very popular, albeit, horrible incarnation of one of America’s great art forms.
Someone gave my wife a gift certificate to a local roadhouse style steakhouse and we recently made use of it. As soon as one pulls onto the lot you hear an exterior speaker belching out some nasal twanged noise that deadens both the desire to enter and your sense of taste. The noise only gets louder as you near the front door and continues nonstop throughout the stay. The food was good, the waitress attentive and friendly, sanitation was no problem, and everything would have been good if they’d just turned the damned sound system either down or off.
It’s not that I don’t like country music, I just don’t like today’s version. I love all the old Hanks as well as the Willies and Waylons. The difference is all those old dudes had a sound of their own that was as identifiable as knowing which of your children is crying.
I’ve given it some thought and decided all the sameness is a result of at least two things. In order to get signed to a record deal I’m certain that it is mandatory one graduate from an accredited school of Texas-Twang. If you don’t sound like you have fresh long horn droppings on your Tony Llama boots, you can’t make a record.
When I was a kid I lived next door to a doctor. Every now and then I’d get into the doctor’s medical books to learn a a few things my mommy wouldn’t talk about. One of the things I read about was a technique used on women who’d just given birth. It was called, in non-medical speak, the “husband’s stitch” and was a technique for making the vaginal entrance just a touch tighter. Well, my thesis is that there exist a similar stitch in country music. One that requires the surgeon to enter the nasal cavity of country wannabees and install a couple of stitches to tighten those passages making them higher in pitch. It’s the only thing that could explain the great numbers of men in country music who sound like prepubescent boys with influenza. Kind of a modern day version of castrating choir boys in old Rome so they could hit the high notes long after puberty.
I suppose the state of country music doesn’t really matter to me. We’ve used the steak house gift card and the only country I plan on listening to will be from my somewhat extensive collection of old “shit kicking” tunes by Lefty, Hank or Merle. My XM car radio may have a station that still plays country legends who are either dead or by all rights, should be. I’m talkin’ bout you Willie!
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