Norm Smith Medallist
- Oct 16, 2007
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
- Doncaster Rovers, Boston Celtics
Leadbelly. Country, rock, folk, blues or bluegrass?
Was Janis Joplin's biggest hit a rock song or a country song?
Kill Devil Hills. Folk, rock, hill-billy or country?
What people confuse with country is western. Western influenced stuff is often labelled country in a pop context. And it's that honky tonk esque Merle Haggard stuff that is pretty obnoxious. The crap southern accent and pedal steel guitar.
But if you go past that, there are some really awesome alt-country bands that have more in common with fundamental country and cross over into other genres. Like Crooked Fingers and Wilco crossing over into folk, and into laid back indie-rock. Just listen to California Stars and see how many genres are at play.
And then you have like Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown and Conor Oberst angling the indie-pop fan girls.
And then you get the more pure alt-country artists like Gillian Welch (absolutely beautiful music) Allison Moorer, Sarah Storer types that tend to angle the fundamentals of country. More country than what wouldn't now be called alt-country if you understand. More inclined to use violins and other instruments that aren't batshit annoying... and sing in a pure voice.
Hope this helps.
I think you are a bit harsh on Merle Haggard. He is not one of my favourites but he has plenty of credibility and you make him sound like an early version of Billy Ray Cyrus !!!!
I agree with your love of Gillian Welch, she is amazing.
I grew up listening to Tom T Hall. He was my Dad's favourite singer and remains one of mine. His songwriting is brilliant. The son of a preacher, he has a great social conscience and it shows in his writing and singing. He loves small town America and it's people but rails against small minded people.A tribute album of his work came out a few years back and Whiskeytown, Johnny Cash, Victoria Williams, Iris DeMent and Calexico were only some of the artists to appear on there. Gram Parsons And Jeannie C Riley also covered his songs.
If you live in Perth which I think you do, get along to The Norfolk Basement on August 7 to see local girl Natalie D Napoleon who has just returned from the US where she has recorded a new album of alt country. She is fabulous. (Disclaimer - she is my cousin, but I would not recommend her if she wasn't as good as she is!)
I love Country - the trouble with is all people know is Nashville Country which is crap. Don't start with Travis Tritt or Faith Hill its all crap
The Alt Country scene is a gift that just keeps giving. Ryan Adams in Whiskeytown and his solo career, Gillian Welch, Emmylou, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle - even the hard core Bluegrass and Western Swing artists are all great.
Doc Watson, bluegrass guitarist is amazing. His son Merle was a great banjo player too before he died.
Dolly has written some incredible songs in her life and her Bluegrass album - the Grass is Blue is magnificent
Totally agree with that.
Also the old timers like Merle Haggard, Cash, Porter Waggoner, and George Jones are fantastic. They retained emotional integrity and honesty in their music when they became iconically famous - which is something that Rock artists often fail to do
Amen to that.
Hank Williams was the first punk. Glen Campbell wrote some of the greatest popular music every written in the West particulalry Wichita Lineman
Even Tammy and Charlie Rich
Glenn Campbell did some wonderful stuff but he can't lay claim for writing Wichita Lineman - that was Jimmy Webb. He also penned Galveston and By The Time I Get to Phoenix which Campbell had massive hits with. Jimmy Webb also wrote Macarhur Park (Someone left the cake out in the rain).
Sinead O'Connor did a great version of Wichita Lineman.
I have 2 kids live in Wichita. Great song !