Friday music musings, 03.10.14

For context, watch this video:

Sabra posted this on her Facebook yesterday, and one of her commenters had this to say:

When you rage against the Nashville Sound what you are really running down are the fans who support it – - those retards in flyover country that the Left typically despises.

I guess I should have seen something like that coming, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Why?

Because I don’t have any problem saying that a lot of today’s “country” music is made for unintelligent and shallow people, and I don’t see why that has to be made into some sort of political issue (i.e., if you think this music is dumb you’re a lefty coastal snob). You could make the very same argument in regards to the “bro-country” phenomenon (which is basically the phenomenon embodied in all the songs mentioned in the original linked video). After all, if we’re going to be honest with ourselves, we’re going to have to admit that there are a LOT of people in “flyover country” who like this stuff, as evidenced by how well it’s selling. Somehow I doubt it’s going to be your stereotypical latte-sipping Manhattanite who typifies the audience for this “music.” And in that case, if running down the music is the same is running down the fans in flyover country, well then, I’d have to say that’s an instance of the blind squirrel of the Left finding its proverbial nut.

Why? Because, well, this “bro-country” phenomenon doesn’t reflect well on anyone — the people who write and record that stuff, the people who like it, or the genre the music’s fans and creators proclaim it to be a part of. Put another way, “bro country” fans like music that objectifies women and portrays them as playthings. There’s no getting around that, no matter how the situation might be framed as some sort of political debate. If not liking that music and looking askance at its fans puts me on the side of the aforementioned Manhattanite, well, there’s at least one thing we’d be able to agree on, if nothing else at all. Some things ought to transcend coastal elite vs. flyover country rube, and calling out (and at least some agreement on what constitutes) outrageously misogynistic bullshit is one of them.

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4 Responses to “Friday music musings, 03.10.14”

  1. Sabra Morse Onstott Says:

    Honey, I love you, but I think his point went sailing right over your head. Like you and I, he’s neither a fan of bro country nor a Leftist. He was, I think, pointing out that the political divide in this country has filtered down even to our music. I didn’t agree with him completely, but it was a much more thorough discussion than you present it as here.

    Also, big no-no on quoting only a small portion out of context of the rest of it. I hate it when people do that, even you.

    Here’s the entire comment:

    I’ve heard this complaint from a bunch of sources – - Slaid Cleaves, Gurf Morlix, Mary Gauthier and Ray Wylie Hubbard – - artists who *aren’t* making that big Nashville money. All of them politically on the Left. I wonder how much of the complaint is genuine and how much is just whining at their own relative lack of success compared to the most successful of the Nashville stars? Yes, Nashville is formulaic – - ever since Chet Atkins (among others) developed the Nashville Sound back in the late 1950′s the formula for having hits in Nashville has seldom varied. Kristofferson, Waylon and especially Bocephus himself railed against the Nashville Sound themselves before finally being *reluctantly* accepted. If the Nashville Sound as a *concept* wasn’t successful then a new concept would supplant it. When you rage against the Nashville Sound what you are really running down are the fans who support it – - those retards in flyover country that the Left typically despises. When artists such as Cleaves, Gauthier and Morlix come to Charlotte (for example), they play at the trendy hipster folk clubs to a leftist audience, NOT the country audience out at Coyote Joe’s. In this divided country the music is dividing also, people are choosing sides. It was obvious at the time of the Dixie Chicks controversy back in the Bush years.

    Used to be that entertainers wanted as big an audience as possible, since record sales and radio play meant money in their pocket; nowadays they think there are “good” and “bad” fans, and they only want the “good” fans who agree with them – - but they whine about the money they don’t get from the “bad” fans who they have nothing but contempt for.

    Now, while I disagree vehemently with his contention that running down the Nashville Sound is tantamount to running down its fans, I think he has an excellent overall point that there is a purposeful division of fans. There are no few Texas music fans who think that anything from here is great even if it’s as vapid as Nashville spew (this is how Aaron Watson’s latest album has a flipping 5-star rating on Amazon in spite of being packed full of clichéd shit). You yourself wouldn’t listen to Steve Earle before we met because he’s a flaming leftist. We’re dividing ourselves into music tribes as surely as political ones. I’m not really bothered by that, mind you. But I think some folks are.

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      Well, to be honest, I thought the quote I built my post around was such a blanket statement that it didn’t really need any context. Perhaps it’s because I so vehemently disagree with the statement, but at any rate I can’t help but think it’s a bit presumptuous to think the artists are bitching just because they aren’t getting a cut of the action. Maybe some of them are — but on the other hand, I’m sure George Jones had more money than he knew what to do with when he died, and then there was Alan Jackson’s various statements over the years, like the busting into the George Jones song at the CMA Awards and “Murder On Music Row.” And why even bring the political aspect (to the extent that even exists) up in the first place? The only thing you did was post that video and bemoan the state of country music in 2013, and that statement seemed (to me, at least) to be completely devoid of any political context whatsoever.

      Point certainly taken on the division of fans, though I do find that sort of thing more bothersome. I have found it such since when the Dixie Chicks got thrown off the radio in favor of Toby Keith and Darryl Worley. I know that sounds odd, considering my old aversion to Steve Earle — but hey, I’ll go on record as saying I was stupid for that. I know that politics and music have long been in bed together, but why should we accept shitty music because we agree with the politics of the artists and listeners? And on the other hand, it’s just as stupid to shun good music because one disagrees with said politics.

      • Sabra Morse Onstott Says:

        I know that politics and music have long been in bed together, but why should we accept shitty music because we agree with the politics of the artists and listeners?

        Well, we shouldn’t, but plenty of people do. I strongly suspect the success of this shit music is more cultural than political. It’s embraced for the same reason people defended Phil Robertson for comparing homosexuality and promiscuity to bestiality. As long as you’re against “those guys”, you can do whatever and find defenders.

        And by the way, he was pretty clear with the “piece of the pie” bit that he wasn’t talking about mainstream artists. I think that part of his comment was off-base.

  2. southtexaspistolero Says:

    I strongly suspect the success of this shit music is more cultural than political.

    I definitely agree with that! I wouldn’t be surprised if that was as much of a reason as the politics of the whole thing that the whole “division of fans” bit seems to have gotten shifted into high gear about the time the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith started going at each other’s throats. It is what it is, I guess, but it still sucks.

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