This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The cure-all elixer of the Old Crow Medicine Show

Unless we're talking trip-hop (do you like paying cover charges to be fucking BORED?), I think 'most every genre of music has at least a couple artists that are enjoyable, even if they're anonymous. I have a gajillion klezmer records, but if you asked me to name the artists behind them, I would blank and change the subject. However, the genre of music that get popular almost always acquire semi-justified detractors because the most well-known examples of the genre tend to be the least-offensive, easy-to-swallow ones. I've thought this was kind of shitty. Avenged Sevenfold will always be more popular than Mastodon, but that doesn't mean all metal is full of LA posers who have more tattoos than talent. Nickelback sells roughly a thousand times the number of records the Hold Steady sells, but that doesn't mean they're the best purveyors of crunchy, riff-heavy alt rock. Unfortunately, a lot of pundits don't have the free time that alcoholic fucks like me have, so they base a genre (rock, rap, and country, basically) on the few example of hyper-popular floaters that rise to the top of the toilet that is the music business.

Country especially falls into this category. Modern country is an anomaly in that many of its more popular artists go platinum and sell out arenas across (most) of America, but the average pop-culture writer or observer would be hard-pressed to name an artist that wasn't on the tabloids. Fuck, I didn't know who Kenny Chesney was until I saw his picture with the caption "GAY?" plastered on tabloids in the checkout at the supermarket, but apparently he's sold enough records to buy a small country. A lot of popular country music gets maligned, and rightfully so. Almost as a rule, the most popular artists of the genre are basically playing pop music with a twang and lyrics tweaked towards their self-consciously blue collar audience.

Unfortunately, this leads to an entire stripe of music being discounted by the populace at large, and that's just not fair. Hipsters will cite old legends like George Jones, but ask them if they listen to any modern country music, and they'll scoff so hard they'll pull a muscle in their tonsils. At it's best, country music is as shitkicking as punk and as raunchy as the blues, and the typical focus on working class concerns influenced the street-level lyrical outlook from Bruce Springsteen to Tom Gabel to the Furious Five. Yeah, you can sing about socialism and abstract concepts, but really really matters to most people (including me) is issues of the heart, substance use and abuse, not having a shitty job, and day-to-day encounters/conflicts. The torture of Gitmo infuriates me, but I would be lying if I said I didn't expend more energy working on my relationship with Andrea.

Where this blog barf is going is basically that there are modern country artists with one foot in tradition, one foot in the present, and a ballsack teabagging in the fuck-you. "Cocaine Habit" is a rollicking tribute to the loudest of party drugs, but when they steal the chorus to Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston's "Take a Whiff on Me," it enters into fall-down-funny and heel-kicking great. You'd figger the daughter of class act legend Doc Watson (the gal what discovered the band during their busking days) wouldn't appreicate stoned good-ol'-boys barnstorming country and bluegrass, but she did, and they've even landed on CMT, though they're still a long ways away from opening up for Faith Evans. (I don't think the Future Stuck-Up Obese Girls of America would really understand what was happening.) Still, when you get a load of "Wagon Wheel" (based on a discarded Bob Dylan chorus) or "That'll Be a Better Day," you'll be a convert, too.

Wagon Wheel:

That'll Be a Better Day:

Cocaine Habit:

Hard to Love:


Blogger luridtraversal said...

Greetings from El Jay's Droog in Poland. It's nice to see someone acknowledge the good Alt-Country out there. I've recently discovered Slim Cessna's Auto Club, and Jay Munly who if you've not heard before should definately give a whirl. I loves it.

12:13 PM


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