More random day-off music musings.

Well, not so random, as they were all inspired by what I’ve been reading and hearing on the radio today, but anyway…

I am constantly amazed at some people’s blind hatred for anything that gets played on modern-day country radio. Sure, there’s a shit-ton of crappy music out there, but I don’t understand why people would automatically dismiss someone like Jamey Johnson or Gary Allan just because they went to Nashville. I can’t help but think if Jamey Johnson were on some minor label and was just a regional phenomenon those folks would be singing his praises. Same goes for Gary Allan. I distinctly remember someone bitching about how he ruined, RUINED Todd Snider’s “Alright Guy.” Well, you know what? I’ve heard the Todd Snider original and it’s pretty damn good, but I am not going to lie. I think Gary Allan’s version is better — one of the few instances in which a Nashville singer took a favorite from the country music underground, for lack of a better term, and made it better.  I thought Gary Allan’s raspy voice suited that song just perfectly, and I don’t see how his being on a Nashville record label makes that such a bad thing to say.

On a slightly different note, so to speak, as I was pondering that and listening to the Allman Brothers’ “Ramblin’ Man” (ahhh, Dickey Betts), I thought of Dale Watson’s “Nashville Rash”:

Ain’t it funny how things can really change

Rock and roll back in the 70’s are country hits today

This is true, but it should be noted that there wasn’t really that much distance between the Southern rock of the day and what Willie and Waylon were doing. Recall, again, that Willie and Waylon both did covers of popular Southern rock hits of the ’70s, to wit, “Midnight Rider” and “Can’t You See.” Waylon also did a cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “For Lovin’ Me.” I’d like to think that sort of thing wasn’t what Dale Watson was talking about, but who knows? I know there were those who got all wound up back then at what Waylon and Willie were doing, though, and no doubt a number of them still are.

Speaking of getting wound up, you should see some of the vitriol being slung at Aaron Lewis in the comments here. To wit:

“If you’re packing every time you leave the house, that sounds pretty ghetto.”

“.357 is from urban WI, and they are a country band. I don’t know that they go around claiming they grew up next to some moonshine still in the hills of Tenn. Of course they don’t go around in a video mentioning the pop. of the WI suburb they are from either and the need to carry a gun for no reason.”

“I should note that Aaron’s paranoid need to pack heat when he heads for the supermarket is probably more attributable to his being so heavy of a pot smoker…”

Interesting, to say the least. It’s like reading Japete on crystal meth. And then there was the Triggerman’s criticism of the song itself:

It perpetuates every single negative stereotype about gun owners and patriots that is possible. It paints them as ignorant, self-centered assholes that feed their pit bulls gun power and beat their girlfriends with rubber hoses.

I guess we were listening to two different songs, because when I listened to that song I never once got that impression. Good grief, it’s not like he talked about going out and shooting people and “showing his woman who’s boss if she got all uppity and shit, IYKWIMAITYD.” Sorry, but that just strikes me as getting a bit carried away with the criticism of the song, unless you already subscribe to the urban left’s stereotype of gun owners and rural residents. There are those who accuse Lewis of pandering — and while that’s a legitimate gripe, as I say in the comments there, if someone like, say, Dale Watson sang about carrying a gun would they call him paranoid? Or would they say, “Oh, yeah, he’s rough, tough and don’t take shit offa nobody. Fuck yeah!” Or how about, say, Charlie Daniels?

“Well I’m the kinda man wouldn’t-a harm a mouse, but if I catch somebody breakin’ in my house I got a 12-gauge shotgun waitin’ on the other side…”

Paranoid redneck son of a bitch? Or realistic individualist?

(I never got a straight answer to that question, by the way, just another slam at gun owners who carry. From an alleged gun owner, natch.)

If it’s the latter, then why is Aaron Lewis’ character the former? Food for thought…


3 Responses to “More random day-off music musings.”

  1. Boomer Lad Says:

    You have to remember this about Willie in regards to “Outlaw Country”:

    If he was going to get paid and people were interested in him doing it, he generally did. Still does today. His concert hall “command performance” bits are entirely different from the State Fair and Billy Bob’s type gigs. One is the stuff he’s currently interested in. The other is what sells. He does both and the bits in-between.

    Actual fact: When they came around the studio and asked if he wanted to do a reggae album with Ziggy Marley, he said “Isn’t that negro music?”–Coming from the same man who helped Charlie Pride cross over. He ended up having an OK time but I don’t think he would have gone out of his way to make a reggae record and he hasn’t really performed any of the songs since.

    The music business is a business. If you want to hear people creating things for the sake of art, you MAY find people with commercial success doing it, but they ARE a minority.

    BTW, “amateur” is not an insult, it actually translates to “one who loves”.

    People who are getting paid make many compromises to keep getting paid and this isn’t a rant about “if only the world was more fair, BL could have been a star”, I didn’t want to do what it took to stay in the commercial ranks and the people that NEED that in their lives will do what needs done to stay commercial. Doesn’t matter if you are a concert pianist or rock star.

  2. Leeann Ward Says:

    I like the Snider version better, but I like Allan’s as well. I get a vulnerability from the Snider version that I don’t get from Allan’s. To me Snider sings it like “I’m an alright guy. Right? Right?”, while Allan seems more sure that he’s alright. I hear more nuance in Snider’s version, which is probably why I like it better.

    Charlie Daniels is radical for my taste.

  3. southtexaspistolero Says:

    To me Snider sings it like “I’m an alright guy. Right? Right?”, while Allan seems more sure that he’s alright.

    Well, you know some folks have to affirm it and be decisive about it. “Doesn’t matter what other folks think, I AM an alright guy.” Heh. I really need that cd…

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