You’ve heard me express, both in person and in podcast, (as well as having read it before in any of my previous essays…) that I hate “both kinds” of music. Country AND Western. Yes, “hate” IS, indeed, a very strong word, but I just can’t get over my abhorrence of “that sound”. I don’t know if it is the “drawl” or the sound of the steel guitar. Maybe it’s the disparity of “old” and “young” Country. Whatever it is, I don’t like it.
Now, C&W sort of “runs in my family”. My uncle had a C&W nightclub in Newark, NJ years ago. He was also a partner in a C&W record label back in the 70’s and 80’s. Some of the music played in my home, as a small child, was music from people like “Hank Sr.”, Patsy Cline, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” aside, I had NO use for it.
It has been a source of agony to me that the lion’s share of music that bears even the slightest nod to our values as Americans has been of the two genre in which I take the absolute least delight. All the way back to the 50’s, you’d be hard pressed to find any broadly patriotic popular tunes by popular artists. The mention of a city, yes, but the Union as a whole? Far from the top-ten in “Your Hit Parade”.
This became more evident after the first Gulf War. Songs from “The Man In Black”, Johnny Cash to “Hank Jr.” were being given airplay on “pop” stations. After the attacks of 9/11 the C&W stars started rolling in like so many Conestoga wagons. Yes, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard were back, and so was Hank. Joining their ranks were many more…from Trace Adkins to Big & Rich. From Toby Keith to Alan Jackson to Billy Ray Cyrus. Dozens of them. Boots, hats, guitars and all. Some folks will argue with me on this point, bringing up songs like “We’re an American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad, “Back in the USA” by Chuck Berry or even “The Heart of Rock and Roll” by Huey Lewis and the News. Yes, there IS the “occasional” song here and there, but five, six or even a dozen songs in fifty years hardly make up a “preponderance”.
It’s not often that you’ll see me endorsing a musician or band. Even less so when it isn’t MY, (albeit former), band. I’m going to make some exceptions here today. I’ve found some real, live ROCKERS who share our sentiments and sensibilities! Ladies and Gentlemen! It is my pleasure to introduce to you:
Ava Aston, ( http://www.avaaston.com/home.html ), and her hit single “We The People”.
Krista Branch, ( http://www.kristabranch.com ), with hers, “I Am America”.
Madison Rising, ( http://www.madisonrising.com ), by far my most favorite of the bunch! Their rendition of our National Anthem will stir you down deep in your rock & roll soul!
Each of these artists brings more than one song to the table of America. I HEARTILY recommend that you give them a listen and then SUPPORT them! Buy the album! Download the I-Tune! Order a tee-shirt! In the words of the old Rascals song: “There’ll be shoutin’ from the mountains on out to sea, no two ways about it, people have to be free”.
With their help, America always will be. G-d Bless the United States of America.