While America is where you find the roots of country music, the truth is that the seeds were planted in countries around the world. Immigrants came and settled into the Appalachian Mountains, and brought with them the instruments of their home countries. Some examples:
The fiddle. From Ireland.
The banjo. From Africa.
The mandolin. From Italy.
The guitar. From Spain.
I have heard many people make fun of country music, and something they always cite is the instruments of country music. They are also normally shocked when I explain where those instruments actually came from.
Oh yeah! But what about that crazy square dancing and line dancing??? Hmm...ever see the waltz, or many other traditional dances of aristocrats? Change the music, replace the shoes with boots...and you've got the same thing.
The origins of country music mostly started with instrumentals. Small string bands that got together and just played. You see the same thing with the origins of jazz. And from these jam sessions eventually came lyrics and music. And today, you'll see that country music, above all other forms of music, is based on the LYRICS.
But what about rap? That's all lyrics. I hear that alot. The truth though, is that rap music is about the BEAT first, and the lyrics second. Print the lyrics out to your favorite rap song sometime and read them. Are they really that amazing?
But with country music, the lyrics are everything. They are true and honest and cut to the core of what people think and feel. Contrary to popular jokes, country music isn't all about trucks and cheating and dogs. If you want to know what was happening during any period in this country's history, simply look at the country songs that were popular at the time. In good times, the songs are poppin. In bad times, they are sad and slow.
Today's country is no different. Recently we have had great country songs in response to the war, the 9/11 attack, and another event we've experienced. And I'd suspect we're in for a wave of songs about the economy and job loss, lost homes and broken dreams. Country music has a better feel for the times than any other style of music.
I plan on writing more about the history of the music. And I also plan to write about some of the great artists though the history of country music. Hopefully, I also write some stuff about the great artists of today.
My goal is to get you to open your minds to accepting country music, and sampling some of the music from the past and the present. You might just find you like it more than you thought you would.