Country Music in the UK

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Country Music in the UK

Postby DavidfromSydney » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:50 pm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/no ... sic-awards

Interesting article here from the Grauniad - what do people think?

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Re: Country Music in the UK

Postby Mike Rogers » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:18 am

David, I spent half an hour writing a long reply to this, pressed 'preview' and it vanished. If I find the energy I'll try and write a brief summary but right now I' m very annoyed.
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Re: Country Music in the UK

Postby Harvey2 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:10 pm

David, I'm not a Guardian reader but I though that the author of this piece got it spot on. I still think that he's a poncy pillbox who has probaby never experienced the thrill of actually buying a concert ticket or a "record" with his very own dosh but he's on the money here. 'Bout time Country Music (as a genre) was lain to rest, methinks. And don't get me going on "Americana".
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Re: Country Music in the UK

Postby Mike Rogers » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:25 am

This is a shorter version of what I originally wrote.
1) I have little time for music journos who resort to clichés. The guys who say that folk followers are are bearded, sandal and sweater-wearing balancing pints on their large guts.(And that's only the women!) And guys like Guardian Man who fell compelled to don a hat and 'cowboy' shirt.
2) The term 'country' has become very difficult to define. On other sites (Mudcat for example) protagonists debate endlessly about the 1954 definition of folk. It is totally destructive. If labels cause so much problem why do we use them? In music stores Emmylou is usually found under 'country' but like many artistes these days, she is a genre-defying singer.
3)The country music industry in the US has an almost impossible task to define itself and so has come up with a number of sub genres, which, far from clarifying matters, add to the confusion. It is therefore unsurprising that it doesn't know how to promote the music in the UK.
4) At one time 'country', although a minority music, was fairly successful in the UK. We had well-supported International Country Music Festivals at Wembley with plenty of big names. In the mid-70s my buddy and I were doing well enough to consider giving up our day jobs and turning fulltime pro (it would have been a huge mistake). But British audiences have always leaned towards the cowboy side, finding relief from their drab jobs by dressing up as cowboys and injuns, enacting mock shootouts and in more recent times emabracing monster trucks and line-dancing. How anyone drives while wearing spurs is beyond me.
5) Some tracks released over here are remixed - foolishly in my view. But taking the 'roughness' out of country is nothing new. 50 years ago celebrated producers like Owen Bradley and dear old Chester Atkins were replacing the solo fiddle with banks of strings and the steel guitar with genteel piano.
6) As it happens I haven't heard anyone sing about tractors since the Judds' homage to John Deere but a lot of the content is completely alien to British life. Strangely a current show as musically excellent as Marty Stuart's still features a 'God slot' and a hayseed comedian, just a Porter Wagoner did years ago.
7) The Brits do support artistes who get off their lazy butts and make the trip over here. People like Emmylou, Dolly, Don Williams and Steve Earle have been visting these shores for years. But they do so on the strength of their names and reputations and not as part of some horrible Nashville promotion.
8) If I talk about country you can bet I mean Hank, Merle, Johnny and Waylon and definitely not Shania, Toby and Carrie. Most of the Nashville output is horrible. Brad is OK though - a good singer and a great picker.
9) In all of this bluegrass thrives and survives because it is still basically the same music as when it started with virtuoso pickin' and singin'. A lesson maybe?
10) There is no 10.
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Re: Country Music in the UK

Postby craig » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:07 am

Tell .. good reading as always ..oh can i still refer to you as Tell ?? ... good ...so this got me thinking about this strange littl;e Island across the pond that fancies .. cowboy`s and injuns .. and i was thinking about back , well the last couple hundred years , how all the beaver was trapped out for hats and al;l things "injun" were quite popular .. this was a wild country ,, uncivilized and all .. so now it`s monster trucks >> really ?? they have monster truck shows in Britain ??? and line dancing ?? seems some things never change this country is still rather uncivilized , and Britain is still " eating it up " !
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Re: Country Music in the UK

Postby KenB » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:58 pm

I still carry an image in my head of a mom and pop farm with a local radio station playing real country music, 1940’s era. The farmer drove to town in a pickup truck, like in the movie The Last Picture Show. What a wrong idea for today. I learned a long time ago that country music was/is popular in Japan, starting way back in the 1960’s. Think Japanese honky tonk then try to imagine a Japanese country band doing Buck Owens…whoa there pardner. So alien cultural aspects don’t necessarily block out the market. Country music can sell big-time outside the USA. Our western prairie Provinces absorbed the traditional music from the earliest days of settlement.

Fast forward to today’s mega-farms, with upwards of 10,000 acres under till. Vast farms are cultivated with huge air conditioned harvesters. I’ve seen them on TV. The farmers ride in comfort inside the cab and listen to stock market reports through their headphones. Country music? How does that fit into the picture? My guess is that today’s brand of country music is sold to urban dwellers. If I’m right then the market has changed and so has the music.

I quite liked the Guardian article though in all honesty I could never imagine country music crossing over to England, the way rock and roll did in the past… culture clash…still I would like to hear one of those faded-mix records mentioned in the article.
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Re: Country Music in the UK

Postby Turk » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:31 am

Haven't read The Guardian article yet but had to point out that this.....
8) If I talk about country you can bet I mean Hank, Merle, Johnny and Waylon and definitely not Shania, Toby and Carrie. Most of the Nashville output is horrible. Brad is OK though - a good singer and a great picker.
9) In all of this bluegrass thrives and survives because it is still basically the same music as when it started with virtuoso pickin' and singin'. A lesson maybe?

.....is so spot-on.

I would add select George Jones, Vern Gosden and Loretta Lynn songs to that 'country of old' list. Certain bluegrass sounds of today will sometimes fill the void that left us.

I cannot tolerate what is called "country music" these days---actually for many years now.
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