The Country Music Hook

28 06 2008

I think I agree with the statement below more than anything. I love music, I do. I like all kinds except Southern Gospel. I just don’t get Southern Gospel. If it’s your thing, enjoy it. Just not mine.

And I don’t get homogenized country music written just to be a hit. When I was in Nashville, I heard more songwriters talk about “the hook” and how they could hear their song being played on Gerry House. Don’t get me wrong, songwriting is a business but it just always felt disingenuous to me but I get that no one wants to starve either. I’m no songwriter so what do I know?

But man, there was some stinkers that I heard. Unfortunately, a few of them became hits. I turned the radio on over to Radio Lightening and went about my life.

I like some country music. Give me some Willie, some Dwight Yoakum or even some Ray Price and I enjoy it. I like bluegrass for about 25 minutes and then I need a break but for that 25 minutes, I dig it. However, there is a part of me when I listen to any popular music, not just country, and I think did they write that in a chrome-filled boardroom wearing Abercrombie and Fitch drinking Appletinis singing about the dried dirty on the mudflaps of their Dodge Ram, love of the girl who worked in the factory and slurping down PBRs to drink her memory away because she married someone else who’s on a farm.

Give me a break. Steve Goodman, I miss you dude.

And I agree with Heartbreaktown wholeheartedly who has been doing some very good reviews of the Grand Ole Opry because she doesn’t sugarcoat a thing:

Trace closes the night with “You’re Gonna Miss This” and I’m sitting here wishing I was. I don’t like country songs that reference SUVs. I hate modern middle class suburban references in my country music – it’s another matter of personal taste, I just want my country music timeless. I know I can be cynical, but I “get” why this song is popular. It’s just that it reminds me of the well-meaning, super-thoughtful, life-lessony email chains I get everyday. Am I suppose to forward this song to 48 of my closest friends or my boobs will fall off?

And that is why not only you need to add me to your feedburner but Heartbreaktown as well.

I’m with her on this one. Read her whole post. It’s good.

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8 responses

28 06 2008
theodoric of athens

the nashville recording industry isn’t about music any more; it’s about mass marketing of choice pieces of ass. you can go hang at the ProTools lab at the Renaissance Center in Dickson and hear the stories about how Faith Hill really can’t sing at all, not even a little bit.

I tend to think that New York songwriters are better than Nashville songwriters (not even Hank Williams was Burt Bacharach or Ira Gershwin), but my favorite Nashville songwriters are drunks. You can hear them if you go looking for them, but you won’t find them at Bluebird Cafe.

28 06 2008
newscoma

There used to be a place across the street from the Bluebird called Joe’s (I think) and we would see John Prine play then he’d buy us all a bear. Dan Mayo hung out there and we went to his house one night and saw the best set I’ve ever seen in Nashville.

I used to work in a recording studio as a flunky and I have to say it was amazing to see those who are amazing and those who aren’t.

28 06 2008
Lee

Two points only somewhat related, because I pretty much agree with Coma here.

First, I don’t mind the choice pieces of ass. Just turn the volume down low and wear a tight T-shirt. *cough* Carrie Underwood *cough*

Second, appletinis are an abomination.

28 06 2008
Clay Eals

Good to see your post with its passing reference to Steve Goodman. He often doesn’t get his due. You might be interested in my new 800-page biography, “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music.” The book delves deeply into Goodman’s country roots, including the genesis of “You Never Even Call Me by My Name,” co-written by John Prine, debunking the notion that David Allan Coe had anything to do with the classic final verse. Coe and Prine were among my more than 1,080 interviewees.

You can find out more at my Internet site (below). The book’s first printing just sold out, all 5,000 copies, and a second edition of 5,000 is available now. The second edition includes hundreds of little updates and additions, including 30 more photos for a total of 575. It just won a 2008 IPPY (Independent Publishers Association) silver medal for biography: http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1231.

To order a second-printing copy, see the “online store” page of my site. Just trying to spread word about the book. Feel free to do the same!

Clay Eals
1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
Seattle, WA 98116-1958

(206) 935-7515
(206) 484-8008
ceals@comcast.net
http://www.clayeals.com

28 06 2008
newscoma

Appletinis are an abomination. We agree completely on this one.

29 06 2008
PeskyFly

Couldn’t. Agree. More.

And sometime you & I need to do a tour of both black & white Southern Gospel. There are some really astonishing pre-rock cuts by groups like The Statesmen that make early R&R sound downright wussified and limp in comparison. Then we need to listen to Sister Rosetta Tharpe next to some cuts by early rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis and punks like The Oblivions, Mr. Quitnron, and The Makeup.

My grandaddy was a quartet singer so I spent every 5th Sunday at all day “singings.”

And my life changed again when I saw Rev. Willie Morganfield (Muddy Waters’ first cousin) preaching and singing at his church in Clarksdale, Ms. It was like the gospel according to Muddy. So moving– and it really helped me “get” a kind of gospel to which I’d only had an academic connection. Even the Rev. Al Green couldn’t move me like the Rev. Morganfield.

I’m agnostic. Belief is beside the point, I just don’t care about having religion. And yet I completely connect with the need to believe in something bigger and the childlike (in a good way) comfort & joy it brings. That’s so much of what gospel music is and although I’d never push it on anybody else, it’s so worth exploring.

29 06 2008
PeskyFly

And yes, Appletinis are an abomination. Tinis are about gin or Vodka and olives (while holding the thought o Vermouth in mind). I can also deal with the dark booze answer to the tini— a Manhattan. Or even with a dessertishly sweet tini-inspired drink like a Side Car or a Rusty Nail.

But the Apple, Pom, & Chocolate tini— woogah to all of them.

6 07 2008

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