Why I love country music (and you should too)
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Country music is slowly but surely becoming more popular in the UK thanks to the the annual Country to Country festival attracting more people each year, and the launch of the new country music radio station Chris Country.
Though it still feels as though there’s still a prejudice against the genre; when most Brits hear the words 'country music' they want to run away screaming. Here’s why you shouldn’t.
Country music isn't all dreary love songs and yodeling with banjos. Modern country music is a lot more diverse than you might think.
As well as pop and rock country - which have always mixed in the same circles - nowadays you can find country rap, R&B, and even dubstep (no, seriously). You’re bound to find something you like. Are you looking for an emotional love song? Political satire? Something to dance to? Country will have it.
As well as impressive genre hybridity, country music is home to the best writers in the business. It has some of the most intelligent, witty and down-to-earth lyrics you will find. Country artists are not afraid to tell it how it is and talk about the ups and downs of real life, which actually makes it an extremely relatable genre.
To go with the high quality lyrics, you will also find some of the best musicians around. If you appreciate good music and talent, then there is no way you can disregard country even if it isn’t your style. Playing the mandolin is hard, you know.
So why are people so against it? I suppose the main reason is because it’s too 'American', so British people feel they can’t relate to it, but that’s not true at all. Hell, one of the most successful country artists, Keith Urban, is Australian. Sure, it has its fair share of songs about farms, trucks and honky tonks, but country is a lot more broader than that.
Plus, there are some new British acts joining the Americans (and Australian), such as The Shires and Ward Thomas. So you can’t use that as an excuse anymore.
I think the main reason is, since we're not as exposed to it, most Brits don't realise its diversity and are still stuck in the mindset of the 60s with the likes of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. They will always be classic country artists who deserve appreciation in their own right, but the genre has moved on since then.
You may have even been listening to country influences without realising it, since popular artists like Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift have all experimented with it, pushing the boundaries as to what can be considered country. But this is not a bad thing, it is just changing and evolving with the years like everything else.
I’m glad country is getting more recognition across the pond, but it’s still not nearly as much as it deserves, so open your mind and give it a try.
I’ve chosen a few of the more “subtle” country songs to sample so you can dip your toes into the water before going full honky tonk. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
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