What Makes Country Music ‘Country?’
It has been around for decades, growing back in the 1920’s with such artists as ‘Eck” Robertson and Jimmie Rodgers, but this has come far since them, in leaps and bounds and has become unrecognizable to some and unpalatable to others. It can be hard to imagine how the two eras of Country Music could be so different yet the same. With such diversity among artist and sub genres such as Pop and Rock, just what makes Country Music Country?
Is it the instruments? Traditionally it had fiddles and even high spirited instrumentals, and later slow simple chords, but if that makes, then it definitely rules out almost all the top Country artists on today’s top ten, and even many older artists.
Traditionally this Music had very recognizable lyrics. The song would tell a distinctive story, of loss, pain and life lessons, this set it aside from many other genres of music, but this ‘old’ style seems lost in today’s modern world, and even the ‘story telling’ lyrics seem to be lost among more commercial type songs.
Has it truly lost its twang? Is it the twang that makes Country? Many modern songs have lost their twang, but does taking the twang out, take the country out? Does Country become merely pop or maybe blues? When we listen to this Music, we recognize a certain element that distinguishes it from other subgenres of music. But even the most hardened Country Music fan can have problems distinguishing Country from other pop genres, if we look at someone like Carrie Underwood, a popular up and coming star, her music seems to hold little in common with the this Music singers of old, and despite her, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish her music from modern day pop.
Is there one thing that determines whether you are listening or not? A purist might say that it hasn’t truly been Country since the 1970’s where the term Countrypolitan came into being, and C. Pop became a genre. It is here we lose it, for them anything that isn’t ‘pure’ Country, should not be considered in this genre.
Those that branch off from the Genre to “Traditional” in an effort o preserve their C. Music heritage; do they see something specific lacking in the modern day Country Music? Perhaps it is the true commercialization of Music genre, that has ruined it for so many of the traditional music lovers, after all, you can write a song that you love, or you can write a song that will sell, those two ideas hardly ever cross over, at some point in their careers, it is forced to choose between the two, and ever readily, many choose popularity over the traditional and not so popular styles, many even crossing genres completely and turning their back on their old Country style. One day will this Music be so far gone from the sounds of C. Music Pioneers that is completely and ultimately unrecognizable as a C. Music form, and will Traditional C. Music be lost forever?