I don’t like country music. Except …

I’ve never been very good at describing my musical taste. “Eclectic” makes it sound more interesting than it is. The fact that I very rarely listen to the radio or read music magazines or websites means I’m not exactly on the cutting edge of what’s happening. So let’s call it “varied” instead.

In my iTunes, I have music ranging from what my mother used to listen to, like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Roger Whitaker, to slightly hipper music I’ve picked up recently from friends and, I almost hate to admit, movies and TV shows. 

I always used to say the only music I don’t like is country and opera. And then songs by people like Ben Heppner and Inva Mula-Tchako found their way into my musical mix, as did a whole slew of what I must insist on calling alt-country, because admitting I like country is a step beyond my comfort level.

Here’s two, from my continuing adventures with YouTube:

 

Iris Dement, “Our Town”

This song was on the last episode of Northern Exposure, though I didn’t take much notice at the time. Dement was a favourite on CKUA, the rare radio station I did listen to, and she became a favourite of mine through repetition – that voice eventually overcame my prejudice against the twang of the music.

 

 

Gillian Welch, “Revelator”

Gillian Welch was another singer I encountered thanks to CKUA. Thee sparse video and sparse musical arrangement showcases another haunting voice.

 

 

With songs like these, it seems ridiculous to distance myself from country music. Except it’s alt-country. Really.

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5 Responses to I don’t like country music. Except …

  1. jimhenshaw says:

    Everybody comes to the music that speaks to them from their own place. Being Hillbilly Hardcore, I love all kinds of Country. You dabbling your toes in “Alt-Country” is great news, but there’s a big old ocean out there. Check out http://www.slacker.com and link their player to “Outlaw Country” (also on Sirius) probably the most eclectic Country station you’ll find anywhere. Scruggs to Merle to Lucinda and all points between.
    “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”

  2. DMc says:

    The bias you have against country is the same as the bias anyone has against any music..the thing that you don’t necessarily hear with your ears, but your heart…

    …country in its own way has become as flaccid, predictable and divorced from its roots and its truth as any other corporatized music.

    Jim’s right. Out there in the outlaw country, alt country americana pond you can find Calexico and Son Volt and Whiskeytown and Steve Earle. Lucinda and Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash and Neko and Jolie Holland and Richmond Fontaine, Wilco and Iron & Wine and Ray Lamontagne.

    No one has anything to fear from country when it’s honest.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Check out Ryan Adam’s Demolition or Wilco’s Summerteeth if you want a more pop-friendly introduction to alt-country. I had a huge aversion to country music until I accidentally fell in love with both of those albums.

  4. Diane Kristine says:

    Actually I think you’ve missed the part where I say I have a slew of alt-country in my iTunes. These are just two examples. I’m just still having trouble embracing country on its own merits without having to qualify it with the “alt” tag.

  5. CAROLINE says:

    I think your problem with country is the marketing of it, the package and not necessarily what’s in it. Partly it’s a city thing … there’s a snobbery that happens, that only rednecks and trailer park dwellers listen to country. I’ve found myself gravitating more towards the country side of things lately because the best songwriters are coming out of Nashville. Also the best singer/songwriter types, guys like Keith Urban who write, sing and play equally well. Just try to get passed those big hair stereotypes.

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