Response to Article: Yeah, I Like Country

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Article: "Yeah, I Like Country" The Cord Weekly February 14, 2008

As usual, I was floating around looking for interesting things on our beloved country music, and I stumbled upon the above article. It is featured in Wilfrid Laurier University’s official student newspaper in Waterloo, Ontario. The article is written by one of their opinion writers and she basically discusses that basically country music seems to have some type of taboo around it, the stereotypes, and that people shouldn't be ashamed of being country music fans. Now, this article does a fairly good job of explaining things, especially from a the point of view of a fan. However, if I had written this article, I would have taken it a bit further. It is also missing facts about country music that would have supported her thoughts even more.

So, of course, let me fill in the blanks and also elaborate a bit more on some of her remarks.

It's not easy to get the number of radio stations that play country music in Canada, but the best I can, it seems to be close to here in the United States. 900 stations listed on and most of them list unknown format, but ones that do list a format, 143 are Public Radio, 107 are Adult Contemporary, and 93 are country. So, I'm guessing its pretty close to the same as here in that country has the most radio stations, or at least in the top 3 including news/talk, country, and A/C. Album sales seem to be a little lower compared to the U.S. where country is about the 4th most sold album genre with Alternative, Metal, and R&B above it. So, first and foremost factually, country isn't as popular in Canada than it is in the U.S., so that may be some of the reason country the writer of the article has a point of view that there is some taboo around country. However, still country music is extremely popular in Canada.

Now, lets look a bit at the article.

"There is a common misconception about country music that gives it such a bad reputation: every country song is a sob story about a hillbilly whose girl left him, pickup broke down, dog died, or so the story goes."

Alright. This misconception is easy to battle. Been there, done this many times. Country music is about truth and life, period. Yes, there plenty of sad country songs. However, country also has plenty of happy songs, love songs, and songs that just tells a simple story. Its about everything in life from the best times in a party song, to love songs, and yes sad songs, divorce songs, well you name it, there's a country song for your current life moment. That's at the core of country music; the song.

"Another misconception is that if you listen to country music you automatically become a hick. This is the more covert of the stereotypes. Secretly, I think most people are closet country fans. But, since they’ve spent a good portion of time ridiculing and resisting the genre, now would be a bad time to come out."

The closet fan is something that has always been apart of country music, I believe. It is hard to battle, however the way to approach this is when they mention any country artist that they do like, and they will (usually starts I don't like country except...,) then this is the time to jump in and start naming other like artists for them to listen to and try. Then, they will probably say they have listened to that artist, then name more that will lead them in digging in deep into country music and then, they become a fan. It works, trust me.

"Country music contains more than just the stereotypes it has, though it does have key aspects that set it apart as a genre. These would include the vocal twang, prevalence of the acoustic or steel guitar, a linear story line and – of course – the cowboy hat."

This paragraph should have gone a little bit further. Key aspects to country music starts very basic. Three chords and the truth is used very often to sum it up. Country music is about the song and lyrics, that's the most important. If you write a lyrically strong country song and perform it with the passion that it deserves, it will be a hit. The steel guitar is one aspect, however she missed the fiddle. If there isn't a fiddle around, well, good luck in making a country song. Now the cowboy hat thing. That isn't an aspect of the music. Rather, more of a part of their lives. Most, well real country music artists, don't wear the hat because they think its apart of the music genre, rather its their life style; it's the way they grew up working in the fields or running a ranch, or living in the southern United States where you need a cowboy hat to keep the sun off the neck and face.

"Country music sidesteps the rule that to be a talented vocalist and
musician, you must also be beautiful."

This particular point overall is true, but unfortunately, has changed in the later years. The big business music labels come from a thought that there has to be a marketable look to sell records. They may be surprised that country music fans care much more about the song, rather than the look. Still though, most of the country music industry understands let the artist be the artist, no matter on the way they look and they still sell very well, if the talent is there.

"..most country musicians aren’t photographed daily by
paparazzi waiting in their bushes. Without the pressures of being in the public eye all the time, it allows the importance of music to rest on what else but the music itself."
Well, the reason artists aren't photographed daily is fairly simple. Country music artists are very open to their fans. They don't hide from photographers, for the most part. Who wants to chase someone that stops and smiles for the picture? You go to a concert, and there is a good chance that you can meet the artist. This is coming a little harder, but if you do your homework and at times join the fan club, the chance is really high. But, yes this is right, its much more about the music, rather than the artist.

"The more different something may be, the more criticism it
will face. Country musicians are aware of the stereotypes they face. They even explore them and re-enact them by way of reclaiming the stereotypes."
Well, the are ware of them. However, the songs that reclaim the stereotypes are written to explore these stereotypes, rather they a simply singing about their life and their thoughts. That's who they are. Nothing more or less.

"Instead of computer-enhanced catchy tunes and seductive
moves, country music brings back the importance of lyrical works and musical talents."

This my friends sums it up perfectly. Its about the music.

One thing that the article doesn't discuss is that country music fans should be sure to spread the word and share the music and make new fans. Its easy to do and is important to the music. Try it, you just might make a new friend or a stronger bond with a friend already.

Lastly, I must say, wow what a wonderful article, especially in a college newspaper that will reach many young people that just may make a fan or two out of it. I sure hope so. Amelia Lockhart has to be pretty proud of her writing and of her favorite music. The staff at the paper also should be recognized for allowing it to print. I hope other writers out there will take note and try something like this in their high school or college paper. Lockhart shows that she is dedicated to country music. Thanks for the article...

1 Comment:

A.M. said...

Thank you. I always appreciate feedback on my work. It seems the issues you had with this article were also issues I had with it (which is odd, since it's my writing) but the set up of our paper is strange in that I send my article to my editor and don't see it until it prints. So he cuts/adds things I didn't neccesarily write.
Also, the feedback was very much enjoyed.