Friday music musings, 19.1.17

You know, this shit is really getting old:

…people hate Walker Hayes because Walker Hayes sounds different. That’s all it is.

Now, granted, Wide Open Country is correct. They’re just not correct in the way they think they are. People indeed do not like Walker Hayes because he does sound different…as in, not the slightest bit country. As in, if there is such a thing as “less country than Sam Hunt,” Walker Hayes would be IT. I mean, they can call us closed-minded and say we like our music predictable, but that doesn’t make it true. I don’t just listen to country music. Hell, the last album I bought was Savatage’s Hall of the Mountain King.

And even if you’re not one who likes all kinds of music, there’s not really anything wrong with that either. There’s only so much time in the day. If you don’t like deep house music or grindcore and don’t care to go explore them, and you wouldn’t cotton to those types of music being marketed as country, that doesn’t make you closed-minded. It makes you someone who has preferences, and that’s OK. I don’t see why these people find such to be so objectionable.

And as I’ve said before elsewhere, albeit with different phrasing, I find it odd that country music seems to be the only genre whose fans are basically told to open their minds when they object to something like Walker Hayes. If he was marketed as, say, a progressive metal artist, or a Texas blues artist, or a salsa artist, fans of those genres would be just as up in arms as we are, and no one would bat an eye. It’s as if country music is the only genre that is not allowed to have an identity. I have yet to figure out why this is the case.

Also, what is this “progressive country” bullshit? That term has a meaning, and a history completely at odds with what outlets like Wide Open Country are trying to redefine it as:

Progressive Country developed in the late ’60s as a reaction to the increasingly polished and pop-oriented sound of mainstream, Nashville-based country. Inspired equally by the spare, twangy, hard-driving sound of Bakersfield country, the singer/songwriter introspection of Bob Dylan, classic honky tonk, and rock & roll, progressive country was the first anti-Nashville movement to emerge since the dawn of rock & roll. Progressive country was rootsier and more intellectual than many of its contemporary genres; it was more concerned with breaking boundaries than with scoring hits. The genre was also songwriter-based. Many of its key artists — Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Tom T. Hall, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock — were not “good” singers by conventional standards, yet they wrote distinctive, individual songs and had compelling voices. By the early ’70s, such artists had developed a sizable cult following, and progressive country began to inch its way into the mainstream, usually in the form of cover versions (Sammi Smith took Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” to the country Top Ten). Progressive country also provided the basis for outlaw country, a harder-edged genre that shook country-pop (briefly) off the top of the charts in the mid-’70s. Even after Outlaw’s five-year reign in the late ’70s, progressive country continued to exist, until it eventually metamorphosed into alternative country in the ’80s.

Put another way, progressive country was OG Texas Country, and Americana and alternative country before those terms came into the American musical lexicon. And it was a reaction to the ’70s equivalent of what people like Walker Hayes are doing now. What was progressive country? It was this…

…this…

and this.

It is most assuredly not this:

(Be forewarned, if you click that link, by the conclusion of that 3 minutes and 20 seconds, it will have taken more out of your life than it will ever give back.)

===

Speaking of Savatage, that album is really good. I’ve been meaning to pick it up ever since I heard the title track on Sirius years ago. My favorites from it are that title track, “White Witch,” and this song right here…

I don’t know if that’s Eddie Van Halen-style two-handed tapping going on in the background with that guitar, but it’s pretty badass. Good stuff, Maynard.

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2 Responses to “Friday music musings, 19.1.17”

  1. chunt31854 Says:

    Walker Hayes blows dead bears. He should be getting his ass kicked by a 34-year old redneck.

  2. chunt31854 Says:

    P.S. I only listened to 20 seconds, so I didn’t lose too much.

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