I thought I'd give this group a little taste of my music.
Most of you guys are into Rock, but I'm here to talk about Country music, and I ain't talkin about the trash they play on the radio today(with the exceptions of Eric Church and Jamey Johnson) I'm talking about REAL Country music.
From Bob Willis, Jimmie Rogers and Hank Williams to the outlaws to Tracey Lawrence and Garth Brooks to Eric Church and Jamey Johnson.
I think this would work best if I break this down into decades, and where better to start than the 1930's and the birth of Western Swing.
In the 30's this country of ours was in a Depression, and one of the most popular music figures during the time was Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.
They played rather upbeat music.
Bob Wills played the fiddel, and actually inspired me to learn how to play a fiddle(I never got to be very good, but I can play a few songs), Tommy Duncan sang.
It was great.
San Antonio Rose, Faded Love, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Rolle Polle, etc, they were Country music before a certain man from Alabama hit the scene in the 40's.
Here is the first song I learned to play on the fiddle...
On to the 40's.
There were others out there, but only one man really needs mentioning.
This man is considered the most influential Country singer of all time.
Of course I'm talking about Hank Williams Sr
This man made a mark on the music industry that will never be forgotten.
Bob Dylan cites Hank as a major influence in his music.
Hank did more than just sing, he pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable back in the day. He was shaking his knees long before Elvis, many of his songs had to be edited at the time to be allowed on the radio, because in the south at the time, you couldn't mention alcohol on the radio.
He has written hundreds of songs, and people are still remaking them.
In 1953 they fired him from the Grand Ole Opry for his edgy music and dancing, and that lead him to drink himself to death in the back of his Cadillac, and to this day he has never been reignstated into the Grand Ole Opry.
I present you with one of Luke the Drifter's finest...
The 50's were best remembered for the Rock and Roll at the time. Country music was overshaddowed. You had guys like George Jones and Johnny Cash who were starting their careers, but they didn't really make their mark until the 60's.
But we still had some great music being made in the 50's.
Webb Pirece singing There Stands the Glass, Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline.
The music had changed since Hank Sr died, it became a little softer for the most part, and many of the songs were about love lost and love won.
This also brought on the birth of Honkey Tonk. Honky Tonk is a funner style of Country, that tends to focus on the night life more.
Here's a sample...
The 60's is where Country music kind of takes off. Other styles of music were songs of protest, and hippie tunes. Country kind of went the other direction.
This is where you see legends like George Jones, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty make names for themselves.
You still have the honky tonk, but now there is a bit more edge on the songs.
You have Johnny Cash stomping out the foot lights in Nashville, George Jones doing a lot of drugs, Merle Haggard getting out of prison, and the best duet partners of all time, a coal miner's daughter and a rock singer turned Country.
I have two videos here, one from The Man in Black and another from Conway and Loretta.
The 70's is hands down my favorite decade in Country music. I mean, this is the birth of the Outlaw movement.
Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Johnny Paycheck, Jerry Jeff Walker.
This decade saw a lot of edge in the music. These songs broke many of the rules Nashville had.
The Nashville code is what started the movement.
Waylon Jennings got tired of the standard Nashville sound, and he told his record company that he's gonna sing the songs he wants, and in the style he wants, and I'd say it was a pretty successful move.
This decade really brought Country music into mainstream with the songs of getting in trouble with the law, hard times, and all the singers were a bit rough around the edges.
We saw great songwriting in 70's, as most Outlaw Country singers wrote their own songs.
Here's one of my favorite songs from my favorite singers...
This brings us to the 80's where we see traditional Country making a comeback.
George Jones released He Stopped Loving Her Today, which many claim to be the greatest Country song ever made, Hank Williams Jr telling people how it is, and you have guys like like Keith Whitley, Randy travis and George Strait finding huge success in the 80's.
The 80's also was very friendly to the bands. Alabama, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Statler Brothers, Gatlin Brothers, Oakridge Boys, etc. They were around in the 70's, but they found more success in the 80's.
I do love 80's country, but this is the decade inbetween two of my favorite decades in Country music.
I know we talked about George Jones earlier, but you can't do a Country music blog without posting this song...
The first half of the 90's were great. Many call it new aged Honky Tonk, but I loved the music of the early 90's(minus Achy Breaky Heart of course).
Travis Tritt, Mark Chesnutt, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Tracey Lawrence, Clint Black, Patty Loveless, Rhett Adkins, Pam Tillis, etc.
These songs were for the blue collar working man, mixed with some love songs.
I love the songwriting, and this is back when people actually knew about the legends, and the music wasn't watered down like it is today.
There is one man I blame for Country music turning into pop with a southern accent, and that is Kenny Chesney. He broke through in the mid 90's with She Thinks my Tractor's Sexy, and the music is just now starting to recover. From 1995-the late 2000's, real Country music was on life support.
Even though half of the decade saw the birth of of watered down Pop Country, there are countless great songs from the first half of the 90's.
I figure everybody knows Garth Brooks, so I'll introduce you to tracey lawrence.
Honestly, I don't have a lot of good things to say about the 2000s. Most of it was Pop. You have Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Sugarland, etc who quite honestly do not know how to sing Country music.
I mean, did Jason Aldean really think it would be cool to do a duet with Kelly Clarkson and call it Country?
However, there are 4 bright spots out there.
Eric Church, jamey Johnson, Hank Williams III, and Miranda Lambert(I have a crush on her), and you still have George Strait and Alan Jackson making the occaisional new song.
These guys keep it Country.
You won't hear Hank 3 on the radio because he is kind of vulger, but his message is clear, and is what we call New Aged Outlaw Country.
While Eric Church and Jamey Johnson sound a lot like the Outlaws from the 70's.
To me, this is hands down the song of the decade, from any Genre...
Well I've been typing nearly 2 hours now on a blog that nobody will read.
So I'm gonna wrap it up.
For those that do see this, I hope you liked it, and I'm sorry if I started rambling.