Troy explained a pretty interesting situation which got me thinking.
“Unfortunately, the doors (to city venues) get slammed in your face. Modern country has really evolved and three-quarters of Australia doesn’t even know country music is cool.”
McAlister Kemp has two albums, All Kinds of Tough (2010) and Country Proud (2012). The band’s produced at least three ARIA country chart number-one singles and has been nominated for a string of awards. Have you heard of them?
Indeed – what is mainstream city society’s problem with country music?
Is it because country singers sing about life in the country that us city folk just can’t relate to? It can’t be – because kids from my area had lives nothing like the trailer parks of Detroit or the cold streets of DC yet we still found plenty of meaning in the lyrics of rappers and punk rockers from those parts of the world.
I call myself a music lover – and a pretty open-minded one at that. I also happen to call myself a bluegrass fan. So how is it that I couldn’t even tell you the name of one hit song from any country music artist in the ARIA country charts? I’m certainly not a top 40 follower but I know the names of and some songs belonging to the likes of Nicki Minaj, One Direction and Ke$ha.
Many a conversation with city-dwelling music lovers can delve into all kinds of weird and wonderful styles of music – I’ve got friends who are into jazz, classical, metal, hard rock, punk rock, soft rock, folk rock, folk, “world” (whatever that broad term means), dance, trance, hip hop, bad pop and everything in-between. But so regularly in conversations the same bigoted comments come up: “Oh, I’ll give anything a listen… except country and western“. Country and western. They’re dirty words in the city.
But so many of us agree that a fair proportion of the music that makes it into the top 40 charts is pretty junky. Bad pop is bad. At least in bad country they actually play real instruments and tell real stories. And what about good country? It’s rocking out below our noses and we’re not even paying attention.
This week I decided to utilise one of my favourite, underrated sources of information to give myself a snapshot of what I’ve been missing out on all these years. Thanks Geelong libraries.
Before my conscious decision to take notice, all I could tell you about Keith Urban was that he married Nicole Kidman and was a judge on The Voice. I didn’t have a clue what his music sounded like – other than that it was country, and so we just don’t go there.
Keith Urban has in fact made nine studio albums during his long career. He’s won a string of country music awards and a couple of ARIAs, among others. He should probably be more famous than he is – for who he is rather than for who he’s with.
Adam Brand’s first three albums went platinum and his fourth and fifth went gold. The one I borrowed is perhaps not the best introduction to his music since it was less successful than those others, but I’m sure it’s given me a good idea of his style. It’s raw and rocky and actually pretty cool.
I’m not saying I’m suddenly a converted country music fan, but from now on I will make a conscious effort to question that immediate reaction. It’s country – give it a try. Why not?
Have you listened to much country music? What do you think of it?