Monday, October 13, 2008

Ain't Your Grandma's Country Music


I'm here today my fellow Americans to campaign for a better understanding and acceptance of country music.

Ok, who just fell over aghast at the thought? I know it wasn't the GR because he has a thing for Taylor Swift :-)

Seriously, today's country music has a little bit of everything: a deep, well established history and evolution through multiple musical genres. I kind of "knew" some of this but in preparing this blog post I looked up some basic info. ( A disclaimer. I do not purport to be a scholar nor am I a musician and any insights from our BB's with more knowledge are wholeheartedly welcome.)

The roots of modern country music started in the 1920's through the 1950's with a blend of different sounds. Honky Tonk heralded the freedom that came from the end of prohibition when the average person could finally relax with a cold brew and enjoy their favorite music of steel guitars and drums. Hank Williams characterized this sound. Come on. Even if you are not a big fan, how many of you can say you don't know the beginning to "Your Cheatin' Heart"?

The western-country music touched a chord with the sense of pioneer spirit ala Gene Autry. I did not include a link but add a little swing to the mix and you have another of my fav bands Asleep at the Wheel. Rockabilly gained popularity in the 50's and 60's with..yes...Elvis but also Jerry Lee Lewis and a handful of others.

The Nashville Sound was the seed behind the classic music brought to the National arena by a little show sent out nationally on the radio called the Grand Ole Opry. Chet Akins and his guitar and the dulcet sounds of Patsy Cline.

Country music began to change in the late 60's with the additon of orchestras, a more promient melding of other genre overlays ala Outlaws Willie and Waylon (and the boys) and rock influences. Did you know the Rolling Stones had a crossover hit with Honky Tonk Woman?
So that brings us to today, to the music I listen to the most. The songs that reach out to me touching my heart, stirring laughter, promoting pride in a belief, a viewpoint or just making me want to dance. (Note to Posh: Making me WANT to and actually having the NERVE to are two separate issues. Plus my friend convinced me the DJ in Atlanta wasn't likely to play "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk").

Trace Adkins song "Songs About Me" sums it up nicely.

There's something really HAWT about a guy with a Stetson........

Oh, sorry....I went to my happy place. Singing. Yeah, he sings good too :-)

Shania Twain is a vibrant cross over artist whose roots are in the country market but whose amazing style remakes the image of country music. I like a lot of her songs, but this one is a favorite.
(If the Shania link does not take you straight to the video, enter "She's Not Just A Pretty Face" in the search box)

A fluke that she included "romance novelist" in her list of great female accomplishments? I think not.

I have to include a tribute to our Aussie friends and plus...well, I have a thing for Keith Urban :-)

Aren't these lyrics at the heart of many of our heroes? And if the hero is barefoot in a pair of jeans...all the better :-)

So, if you're a country fan already who are your favorite stars? Favorite songs? What would be the title of your own personal country song? And if you aren't I hope you listened to the lyrics and found that SOME of the songs just might be a "Song About You."


Treethyme said...

My niece goes to Country Thunder every year and has met just about all the big country singers. I'll have to tell her about your blog -- she'll love it! I'm not a huge country fan but I do like Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, etc. And Brad Paisley's song The Tick cracks me up!

Dev said...

I think one of my favorite trips was when I went to Nashville in 1995. I loved it. We went to the Grande Ole' Opry, twice, saw tapings of the Crook & Chase show, went to Ryman Auditorium, and even sat at Patsy's table at Tootsies! The Country Music Hall of Fame was also excellent ~ definitely a trip I'll always remember.

Joan said...

Congrats on nabbing the GR, treethyme! Probably snuck up on him as he crooned a ballad about trains and broken hearts and cryng in his beer.

My goodness. You like all those artists yet you're not a huge fan? Can't get MUCH bigger than Garth.

I don't know what's up with Brad, though with that goofy tick song, but I love the one about how he's different on the internet. That song ends with a snippet of a marching band playing the chorus. See! Musical genres mixing!

Love me some bass drums :-)

Joan said...

Hi Dev!

I attended what used to be called Fan Fair in Nashville back in the early 90's. A week of concerts and fan clubs and autograph sessions. (First confession. Hello. My name is Joanie T and I was an Oakridge Boys groupie).

We saw a taping of Nashville Now and I used to love the Nashville Network and Crook and Chase shows.

Louisa Cornell said...

I grew up listening to country music as my Mom and Dad were big fans. Actually my Dad was a Big Band man, but my Mom converted him. My Mom grew up in Butler County, Alabama and Hank Williams was a friend of her brothers when they were kids. His family was so poor that he often came to my Mom's house to eat. And my Mom's family were Creek Indian sharecroppers which tells you how poor HIS family was. He used to cut wood for my grandmother's stove in exchange for her cooking biscuits and gravy for him to take to school.

I am a big Patsy Cline fan. She was one of the first country singers to sing with an orchestra. Don't tell my opera coaches, but I made good money singing Patsy Cline tunes in country bars when I was an undergrad. Sang Patsy and some zydeco ballads in New Orleans too.

I am afraid much of the new country music leaves me cold as some of it is cookie cutter music - no originality. They can make fun of writers like Hank Williams all they want, but the man was an original. His music and lyrics are something nobody, except perhaps his son on occasion, has been able to imitate.

I also admire Johnny Cash's music. Different from Hank's but just as visceral.

jo robertson said...

Great post, Joan!

Okay, I know they're not really country (although my students always claimed they were), but flat-out best vocalists EV-AH -- Simon and Garfunkel. Way back when the sound of the voices trumped the twang of the instruments.

Shannyn said...

I listened to country when I was a kid and left it long ago. I rediscovered it more than a year ago when I tired of my regular radio station playing Justin Timberlake over and over -- nothing against the guy, I'm just too old for that.

I absolutely LOVE Toby Keith. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who took me to see him this summer. He also took me to see Trace Atkins and Alan Jackson this past weekend. I agree with you when you say the music moves you in so many ways. Whether it pulls at your heart as a patriot or it tells a forever kind of love story, it gets to you. Then there are all those that are just fun -- like "Ticks" Brad Paisley is good for some funny songs.

And when you need to write a love scene, there are a whole bunch of songs that talk about staying in bed all weekend long.

Congrats on the GR, treethyme!

Tori Lennox said...

I love the honky tonk/rockabilly sound, but I also adore Brad Paisley (especially his sillier songs) and Taylor Swift (she's got some great girl power songs).

And Josh Turner's voice just makes me melt into a puddle. *swoon*

Amy Andrews said...

Oh wah!!! The Trace link and Keith Link come up "not available in your country". What the? It's Australia not the deepest darkest Congo. Keith IS an Aussie.

Anyway, sorry for the rant, Joan. Great blog. I'm a huge country fan, have always been but am getting more and more passionate about it. You know I very rarely cry in songs but you can bet your bottom dollar if I do - its a country song. And besides, I kind of like to support country because to me they're like the romance novels of the music industry. Everyone's got an opinion and everyone judges them but NO-ONE admits to listening to it.

Brad Paisley is amazing and I'm so jealous of Cassondra who's met him! He writes such insightful lyrics with such a wry humour. I'm not really into the yodelly songs but all the new country rock stuff I really dig. Love Trace and Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood and am probably the only person in the world that adored Achy Breaky heart. There's some great bands out there too like Dixie Chicks and Rascal Flats

I'm really excited at the mo because I'm shouting my best friend to Kenny Rogers this Friday night for her 40th birthday. Am a huge Kenny fan - love some of his recent stuff too. Which is another thing I love about country music and Kenny does so well - the ballads. Love a good country ballad. Ruby Dont Take Your Love To Town still brings a tear to my eye!!

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Treethyme.

I confess that I don't listen to country and don't know much about it. I'm not sure we even have a country radio station. I do like Faith Hill and Shania Twain, but I know some people complain that they've become more pop than country. I did see Keith Urban when he was on Saturday Night Live last year. He was awesome. Which of Keith's albums would you guys recommend?

Christine Wells said...

Keith is an Aussie? I didn't know that:)

Ok, I know nothing at all about country music -- I'm ignorant as dirt, so thanks for educating me on that, Jo Mama. I think the only song you mentioned that I know is Honky Tonk Woman but I do have Shania's greatest hits.

Maybe it's not strictly country but I love the New Christie Minstrels (not sure if I spelled that right). The lyrics of one of their songs goes: I hold my pants up with a roll of twine... Oh please be mine/please pull the twine. Hee.

Hi Treethyme, congrats on snaffling the Golden Rooster! You'll have to post later and let us know what you two have been up to.

Amy Andrews said...

Forgot the women!
Casey Chambers - she's an Aussie.
Gretchen Wilson and Terri Clarke.
I'm also really loving Emerson :-)Drives, "Moments" at the moment

Amy Andrews said...

Christine Wells! Not only is Keith an Aussie but he's a Redcliffe boy!!! Yes, a QLD'er!!

Christine Wells said...

Kidding, Amy, I was kidding. Yeah, he married that Aussie actress. What's her name? Kylie?


Amy Andrews said...

Oh doh! Sorry Christine - just saw the smiley face....

Kylie bloody lucky, that's her name

Christine Wells said...

Actually, if anyone wants to read the best spoof on country music ever, you should read Elizabeth Peters' Night Train to Memphis. As in Memphis, Egypt.LOL There's a rotund little German professor who gets all the lyrics wrong in the most entertaining way. It's priceless. And one of the best romances ever.

Christine Wells said...

Hey, I hope you had a nice hawthor lunch today, AA. Sorry I couldn't be there. One chapter to go and two days till deadline. Can she do it? Tune in for the next riveting installment!

Marisa O'Neill said...

Hey Joan - I'm not a country music fan - although I can sing out loud to the words that are cross over hits. Funny, though, I do love a good western romance - REALLY. And a guy in a Setson? what's not to love.

Ironically - a few decades ago I made up a country song that I still sing to myself. It goes something like this:

Why do you love me when I hate me like I do? Why is the sun always shinning in my eyes? And why is there static on the radio when my favorite song comes on?
(can you tell this was written in my angst fill teens?)

Deb Marlowe said...

Hi Joanie!

I'm just back from vacation, in time for your great post!

I think Taylor Swift is adorable. Check out this video

Or search for Taylor Swift Love Story

It's fuel for a Regency lover's soul!


Louisa Cornell said...

Congrats, on the GR, Treethyme !! Keep an eye on him!!

Joan said...

Mornin' everyone. Finally recovered from my DDJ!

I love Patsy Cline music too, Louisa and have wanted to attend the Tribute show that travels the country (it's been to Louisville a couple of times) They say it is wonderful.

Lee Ann Rimes is a young lady who's been on the country scene since age 14. She can sound JUST like Patsy and in fact early on re-recorded some of her hits.

I don't agree that country songs are cookie cutter. Yes, there are some that might sound alike on occasion, but don't we face that same evaluation for our romance fiction? Formulatic? Predictable? (aka HEA)? But look at all the variety we offer.

Sure, we have our favorites. Mine are historical and paranormal but it sure didn't preclude me from trying RS and contemporarys where I've discovered new authors that I now have on my auto buy list.

If you didn't follow the links and listen to the songs, I'd urge you to and see. You might be surprised :-)

Joan said...

shannyn, I SO love Toby too! And to say I'm jealous that you got to see Trace Adkins, I mean Trace Adkins in person is an understatement.

Alan Jackson is so easy going, heartfelt in many of his songs yet he can be playful too as in his current release "Goodtime".

A perfect example of the versatility of country music and how it touches us all on some level at some time is the song he penned and sang after 9/11

This song captured the confused, frightened and determined heart of this nation after we were attacked.

Annie Solomon said...

Hey all you bandits. Popping over from Annie's World ( to yours to say Happy Monday to y'all. And, Joan, you can bet I'm a-sanging it.

Since I live in Music City--as do other of these here bandits--I can say that I enjoy country music. But mostly when it's sung by the songwriters in the round at the Bluebird Cafe. Or live at the Station Inn--bluegrass, but that's still country, right? Not too big on the big names. But I have lots of friends in the music biz--writers, pushers (songs, that is), sales and marketing, wannabes and has-beens. That the country music I know best. It's incredible how much unknown talent is walking around this city. Here's a link to one of them: That's songwriter Russ Mason's effort to showcase some of that local talent.

Joan said...

Hey tori!

Isn't Taylor Swift just phenomenol? Her voice is so pure and she writes many of her own songs!

I remember the first award she won (can't remember if it was the CMA or what) But in her acceptance speech she said "This has been the best senior year ever!" LOL

And yum, on Josh Turner. He has a deep, deep bass voice that could melt, butter.

Joan said...

Hi Amy (waving madly)

Ok, you should be able to see those videos! I found them on YouTube! It's the internet...I didn't think that made a difference.

Go to YouTube and search under videos for "Songs About Me" and "Making Memories of Us" the "offical" video link. Hope you find it and let me know what you think.

How wonderful that you're taking your friend to see Kenny! He has a classic sound, best suited to ballads I think. I've heard that he actually keeps a house/studio near Louisville. Have fun!

Joan said...

Forgot to comment on Emerson Drive's "Moments". It's a song about a man who is contemplating jumping from a bridge when a homeless guy reminds him through his own experiences that life is worth living.

This is one of the songs I always sing along with..esp. the gut wrenching chorus.

Joan said...

Madame Christine you almost made Amy's head explode! Shame on you, LOL.

And shame on that red headed Aussie chick who married my husband! VBG

On my trip to Atlanta last weekend we drove through Nashville. I kept peeking in cars as we passed hoping to see Keith. (sigh) The dreams I've had :-)

Treethyme said...

Hi Joan - I'm a huge fan of Garth Brooks but not a huge fan of country music overall, although I did go through a country phase around the time Ricky Skaggs had a bunch of hits. I forgot to add Stephen Curtis Chapman to my list of country faves, and Shania Twain and -- do the Dixie Chicks still count as country? If so, them, too. But I still consider myself a rock'n'roller, or more accurately, a Golden Oldie-lover!

Joan said...


Your lyrics are pure country. I BET if you sent them into a songwriter like Taylor Swift she could add to them and have another hit!

Did you set it to any music? A tune at the time? Slap on your Stetson and sing it Marisa! Sing it!

Treethyme said...

As far as the GR goes, I was just lucky, I guess. That's what happens when you go out late at night, trolling the bars. Never know who you'll run into...

Donna MacMeans said...

Uh-oh - was Fedora asleep at the wheel and the GR escaped (grin)? Good nab, treethyme!

I love how the emotion and story can be boiled down to a few well-selected words in a country sound. Have to say, given a choice I'd go for Rock & Roll, but I like a good country song even now and then.

Joan - you should bop up here to Columbus. The Quarterhorse Congress is in full swing and men in stetsons abound. Well worth a walk on the country side.

Joan said...

OMG Deb!


That has to be the BEST video I've seen in forever! Taylor is SO beautiful and Romeo??? (Please tell me he's over 18 as I'm putting him on the shelf next to Keith)Sigh.

Specific to Regency yes, but SO captures the essence of romance fiction!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There HAD to have been a romance novelist consulted for that video. Facts. I need Facts.

onlykeith said...

Keith Urban is the best country music artist(for me anyway)I have all of his albums ans as many video clips as I could find.Yes Keith calls himself an Aussie even though he was born in New Zealand.Listen to his duet with Olivia Newton John called "Sunburnt Country" its very good.Love You Keith.

flchen1 said...

I admit that I don't know much about country music, but I'm going to go click on all the Youtube links, Joan! Thanks!

And congrats on the GR, treethyme! You may want to confirm for everyone that he's not under the influence of any non-self-administered drugs of any kind ;) Cross my heart, Donna!

Joan said...

Hi Annie,

I had no idea you lived in Music City. I would have waved as I drove through.

I love Bluegrass. It's akin to Trad Irish music in many ways and I think it's roots came from Irish and Scots settlers in the frontier days.

Ricky Skaggs was always a favorite and Alison Krauss does some bluegrass flavored. She's another awesome performer.

The places you visit/hang out there in Nashville to me is the heart and soul of the whole country music world. Some may have "been there", some may soon "be there" but the love and passion for their music keeps nurtures the genre.

Oh, and speaking of Bluegrass I have harbored a secret desire to play banjo for YEARS!

limecello said...

Haha I'm... not a big country music fan. But yes, I will say that there are some songs out there that are amazing, and the lyrics are great.

Caren Crane said...

Treethyme, did you know you are the temporary keeper of the Golden Rooster since you were first to post? Treat him kindly, because he can be snippy in new places. *g*

Joan, you know I grew up in Nashville, TN and am NOT a fan of country music in its current iteration. I have an appreciation for "classic country" and, I'll admit, my youngest (just turned 14) is a bit of a country fan.

Honestly, I only know about Taylor Swift because she's dating Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers and my youngest has Obsessive Jonas Disorder. Otherwise I would only know her from articles in EW.

I know writers who claim there is a romance novel in every country song. Not sure about that. But I listened to a little bit of country on a recent drive through Georgia and SC when there was NOTHING else that came in on the radio. Some of the songs made me laugh because they were so OBVIOUS in their heart-string-tugging. There was some sappy thing about a man with Alzheimer's and his mind leaving before his body was ready to go or something. Tear jerker! I'm sure it's a huge hit, but all I can think is, "Man, don't people know how they're being played?"

I suppose they do...and they like that ride!

Caren Crane said...

Annie, I didn't know you were in Nashville. You know we're in Nashville for the 2010 RWA conference. I'm going to have to tack time onto that trip to visit friends and relatives!

Caren Crane said...

Joan, I love bluegrass! Totally a different thing from country, though. Bluegrass is the music of America. You play banjo, Joan, and Jeanne and I will play fiddle. We'll have us a good time!

Buffie said...

Hey Joan, I don't think the DJ played any country, did he? But if he would have played Trace, I would have joined you on the dance floor girlfriend! I really enjoyed seeing the softer side of Trace when he was on The Apprentice. That show made me love his music even more.

Keith Urban **huge sigh** What is not to love about that man!!! I love all of his songs and he ain't too bad to look at either ;)

The first concert I ever went to was a country one -- Ronnie Milsap. I still love listening to his singing 30 years later.

I don't think anyone has mentioned Rascal Flatts. I absolutely love their songs. The song "My Wish" still makes me cry when I hear it. And I really enjoy "Ellsworth, Kansas". What a great song!

What about Montgomery Genry? Those guys have some rockin' songs.

Suzanne Welsh said...

ah Joanie, country music.

I cut my teeth on Patsy, Loretta, Hank and Merle. It was the ONLY thing my daddy would listen to as we wound down Route 23 through southern Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, a small notch of western Virginia and into the Blue Ridge to visit Mama's Mommy and Daddy, and all of Daddy's family. (Can y'all here the distinctive Eastern Tennessee accent? Sort of like a soft drawl of Elizabeathen English! No? Take my word for it!)


Then came my love of.......

Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, ZZTop, Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels, Alabama and Hank Jr's new sound. (of course all this mixed in with classic rock).

I re-discovered my country roots when Sandy Blair gave me Shania's CD to do a video slide show set to "She's not just a pretty face" and Tim Mc Graw's "Live like you were dying." Loved them!! Oh yeah, I "discovered" Allison Krauss by listening to the sound track of "O! Brother, where art thou?" Talk about old time country sound, YUMMO!

PJ said...

My radio is almost always tuned to Whistle 100, the local country station (probably one of the stations you were listening to, Caren). I grew up listening to the older country artists at my grandparent's house and have an appreciation for their type of music but it's the current country that I listen to and enjoy now.

I like Keith Urban a lot. He has a terrific voice and seems like a nice guy who is devoted to Nicole and their baby. Also, back in 2001 when he was just getting started he bought a car from a dealership in Wilkesboro,NC with his very first royalty check. It was a 1994 Chevy Impala but he didn't have enough money to meet the asking price. The dealer took $2,000 off the price so Keith could afford it if Keith would promise to come back and sing at the dealership sometime in the future. They shook on it. Keith never forgot his promise and in 2006, after he had hit the bigtime and won numerous awards, he came back to that dealership and gave a free concert. That says a whole lot about the man's character, imo.

catslady said...

I love country rock. I think Garth Brooks is the reason. He was always my favorite and I wish he'd hurry up and come back.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

OMGosh, JT you crack me up. Your happy place. SNORK! Stetson! SNORK! :> Love it. A hitherto unforseen side of Joanie T. :>

Hey treethyme, you got the Golden Rooster! Go You! :>

I have really eclectic musical tastes that range from musicals like My Fair Lady to Black Sabbath to Nickelback to JLo to Reba and all the way back round to hip-hop, rockabilly and swing. My iPod's awash with Disney songs too. That's the kid's doing, but I like it, so it stays. Don't even get me started on how much I love Patsy and Allison Krauss..

I love the stuff Shania Twain does too. I hadn't heard that song, but I loike it, I loike it!

Caren, I'm not sure you'd want me on the fiddle since I'm so rusty I'm impossible. Still have the fiddle, but have NO talent with it. My only musical talent is with my voice. How 'bout I sing the fiddle part? SNORK! But I'll sing bluegrass with you ANYTIME! Love, love, love me some bluegrass.

Ha, ha on the Keith-urban-is-an-aussie, Christine. You jokester. Don't sound loike it on da' song, now do he? Grins.

JT! Like I need another addiction. A bass singer who could melt yo...butter? Now I have to go to YouTube and see. LOVE a bass voice.

Annie, really cool on the Russ Mason stuff. Wow.

Holy crap, PJ! I didn't know that! I'm FROM WILKESBORO!!! Wow! See, that's what happens when the elder generation is gone and you don't go to an "old homeplace" anymore. Sigh. Wish I'd'a known about Keith going to Wilkesboro. I'd'a gone home for THAT! :> (And I'm probably kin to the dealer too. Ha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

(Actually, PJ, I should be fair and say I'm from Boomer, NC which is north of Wilkesboro! Ha!)

PJ said...

Jeanne, here's the link to a report about it on TMZ. The person from the dealership is Phil Stevens. Small world, eh? :)

Joan said...


Not quite sure where the Dixie Chicks landed as for as classification.

I enjoyed their music alot and it made me sad they were unable to keep their art and their views seperate.

Joan said...

Ok, Donna. Meet me on this side of the bridge and we'll go evaluate the Stetsons.

My favorite encounter with both ahem, well fitting jeans and cowboy hats was during a layover in Houston's airport. No WONDER RWA has their headquarters there

Joan said...

Keith was born in NZ???


All I know is that there are some fine fellows downunder weather in Aus or NZ or Tasmania.

Joan said...

flchen, hooray! You're going to be brave and listen to my small offering of the variety of the genre!

Pop by later and let me know how you liked it!

Joan said...


Glad you have found songs that speak to you.

What would the title of a country song be if it where about you?

Annie Solomon said...

Hey, Joan! The banjo, huh? I hear it's comparatively easy. My sister-in-law plays the banjo. It's a cool sound. I "taught" myself the guitar in high school, but don't play much anymore. A couple of years ago I tried some lessons, but I'm at that stage in life where the info goes in the top and drains out the bottom. As soon as I learned a new piece, I forgot all the others... But don't let me discourage you. Maybe by the time the 2010 conference rolls around you'll be able to serenade us!

PJ said...

All I know is that there are some fine fellows downunder weather in Aus or NZ or Tasmania.

Uh huh, like Hugh - OMG, he's freakin' gorgeous - Jackman. And he can sing too. :) Have you seen his picture in "StarTracks" in this week's PEOPLE? Oh. My. GAWD!

Annie Solomon said...

Hey--Caren! I'm really looking forward to the 2010 conference here, too. There are a lot of "underground" music places I'd be happy to recommend. And the hotel is fun, too. Used to be a bar area that rotated, and a boat ride through the botanical gardens. And they had harp concerts that were timed to a fountain with colored lights and stuff. Don't know if any of that stuff is still there, but wouldn't be surprised. We're big on cheesiness here. The only drawback is it's not in town. But I rarely leave the hotel anyway during national.

Joan said...

Caren, Preferences differ we all know that. Some of the music that's been discussed before I'm unfamiliar with and would most likely make no special effort to listen to.

But I can appreciate songs from different genres. I like Maroon 5, a few Kid Rock songs, even heard one by Coldplay on the way home that I'd load onto my iPod...if I HAD an iPod.

I've never thought there was a romance story in EVERY country song and don't feel played at all. But your mention of the Alzheimer's song (which I don't think I've heard) reminded me of Kathy Mattea's hit from the '80's.

Romance and heart string doubt about it.

Joan said...

Wow, Caren. I didn't know you could play fiddle?

I'll take lessons right away. Then when we're in Nashville in 2010 we can do a rendition of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" at the Awards Ceremony


PJ said...

I'll take lessons right away. Then when we're in Nashville in 2010 we can do a rendition of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" at the Awards Ceremony

I'd pay to see that performance! :)

Joan said...

Well, darnit Buffie. If I'd known that I would have made the request!

"Honky Tonk, Badonkadonk. Keeping perfect rhythm, Make you want to swing along...."

Ah, Rascal Flatts. There's a solid crossover group. "My Wish"? I had them play that after my toast to my newly wedded goddaughter at her reception. I STILL cry whenever I hear it on the radio!

I like Montgomery Gentry too. A real rock feel to their songs.

Speaking of crossover/rock. I DVR'd CBS Sunday morning show. Haven't made it to this part yet, but they have a story about the lead singer from Led Zepplin recording a country song with Allison Krause!

Joan said...

Hey Suz! Welcome to the sunlight

I love Charlie Daniels band and Alabama could not be their heyday.

I went to an Alabama concert at the State Fair. Had great seats but everybody stood up the entire time and I didn't see ANY of them!

In "O Brother" I love the song the "sirens" are singing on the rocks right before the one guy is changed into a "horny toad."

I LMAO at that movie.

Joan said...

Wow, PJ!

What a COOL story about Keith! I'm so glad he got his head on straight even if he was lured away by that redhead Aussie Chick...


I BET if you sent him some of your turtles he'd come to visit you :-)

Joan said...


Yes, I love Garth music too. I don't get why he keeps "teasing" the public with a return but never really does.

Back when he had the hit "Shameless" out, my friend's husband told his wife he didn't get that song. Puzzled, she asked him why. "Why is he singing a song about SHAVING?"

Let's all sing "I'm SHAVING"


Joan said...

JT! Like I need another addiction. A bass singer who could melt yo...butter? Now I have to go to YouTube and see. LOVE a bass voice.

ROFLMAO, Duchesse! No trans fat either BEG

Shania is amazing. I'm actually hoping she'll come back with some new stuff soon. I love her CD "Up"

The title song is GREAT to listen to on the treadmill

Suzanne Welsh said...

You know Joanie, you really need to get an iPod, especially when dealing with crazy psycho nurses! I put mine on at night when the discussion turns to Louis Vitton bags and kids' play dates.

Some good classic rock always brightens my spirits!

Joan said...

Annie, don't tempt me.

I can't imagine that the banjo is EASY to play. One reason I would find it challenging to learn now is that my fingers probably aren't limber enough.

I'm looking forward to RWA Nashville as it's only about 3 hours from Louisville and I used to visit a lot during the Oaks years.

The Opryland Hotel looks awesome!

Joan said...

I'd pay to see that performance! :)

I'll take payment in turtles :-)

Joan said...


I'm settling for a Mp3 player that's on sale for $50.00.

Maybe THEN I'll go to the gym more!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

no, no, JT! DO NOT settle! :> Go for the Nano or something. Prices have come way down or you can get one used, but don't settle. :> I lurve my iPod and I resisted for years. They're fab.

(going to youtube shania's Up song)

Joan said...

Too late Duchesse. Orders in :-)

Ya gotta start somewhere, right? This holds 500 songs! And video and pics.

My true monetary goal is to get an iPhone...that probably won't happen till the first of the year.

Hope you like "Up"

Helen said...

Well done Treethyme have fun with him

Great post Joan I love all types of music I probably never really stop to think what type it is if I like it I listen to it.
I find that a lot of country music has a real story to the lyrics and I like the story and the music.
We have had some great counrty singers here in Australia Slim Dusty is one of the biggies and of course The Eagles music has a very country sound to a lot of their songs and I love their music.

Have Fun

MsHellion said...

Brad Paisley (I'm Still a Guy)...and Garth Brooks...and the Sinatra of Country: George Strait. *SWOONS* I love them all...and I love country. :)

*LOL* And I loved the Oak Ridge Boys too. *LOL* I can sing along with all their songs. *LOL* Admitting to that is like admitting to being a Michael Bolton fan, isn't it?

Joan said...

LOL* And I loved the Oak Ridge Boys too. *LOL* I can sing along with all their songs. *LOL*

Sing it with me mshellion!

"Elvira. Elvira. My heart is on fire for Elvira.."

Suprisingly, (GRIN) not a lot of people know who the Oaks are..were. They've kind of faded out except for diehard fans though I have to say William Lee Golden looks the same as he did 15 years ago. Must be the mountain man beard.

I actually was in the foyer of his restored Civil War house. We had gone down to stalk er, see them at Fan Fair and through nefarious methods known only to rapid fans, found out where he lived.

My one friend talked us into creeping up his driveway to get a closer look at his teepee in his yard. He must have been watching cause as we approached, he opened the door and yelled "Boo"

I yelped a expletive deleted which he thought quite funny. He invited us in and gifted us with really nice lithographs of his restored home.

Joan said...


Be bold, Nobody has answered my question for today.

What would be the title of the country song about you?

PJ said...

I like the Oak Ridge Boys too, Joanie. That's an incredible story about Golden's house! Lucky you!

Helen said...


I have a CD that I really enjoy listening to it is called Counrty Love Songs and there is a song on it called No Charge about the love a mother shows her son great words.

As for a personal song I really like the song The Happiest Girl In The Whole USA by Donna Fargo we could change that to The Happiest Girl In The Whole Of OZ it is a bubbly happy song and I like to have fun and be happy.

Have Fun

Keira Soleore said...

Treethyme, congrats on nabbing the Chook.

I know less than nothing about country music, so I have nothing to contribute to today's post. Thanks to everyone for the video links, so I go and sample them.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Treethyme, have you had the Grand Ole Rooster before? Congratulations!

Goodness, I can't hear myself think for all the steel guitars and crying cowboys! SHUT UP, YOU GUYS!!! Sheesh! I thought the gladiators were noisy but they only brought the stray lyre and it wasn't electrified!

JT, what a fantastic post! Actually I used to think I HATED country music but then I started listening to some of it. It's weird - I tend to find one piece is my way into a whole genre or composer. I used to hate Bach when I was a teenager until someone introduced me to the two-violin concerto (moments of pure beauty if you don't know it - seriously, even if you don't like classical music, this will make you melt) and now he's probably my favorite composer. Anyway, this long story has to do with the fact that I always really enjoyed English folk music and once you trace that over to the Appalachians and start listening for those influences in country music, I suddenly had a doorway in. Does that make sense?

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Louisa! Isn't that funny? Dad was a swing fan and Mum was a country music fan! Neither ever REALLY converted the other, though. Growing up, I definitely leaned towards Dad's tastes but in recent years, I've been listening to some great old country. As you say, Hank Williams was a brilliant talent and such an individual. And that amazing rock and roll lifestyle always makes my eyes cross. Patsy Cline's voice is so pure and perfect, it just makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I love Johnny Cash too. I love some of the rock covers he did towards the end of his life. There's that amazing video for Hurt where you look into his face and just know this man has lived. Always gives me shivers! But as you say, he was an individual too. I love it when Dolly Parton sings Bluegrass too - again, such a pure voice.

Joan said...

Anyway, this long story has to do with the fact that I always really enjoyed English folk music and once you trace that over to the Appalachians and start listening for those influences in country music, I suddenly had a doorway in. Does that make sense?

Yes, Anna it makes complete sense.

It's all interconnected. At some level, on some note, because of one shared moment in history, all music is connected.

Did you watch the video Deb sent over? Still swooning over that one.

Demetrius, sweetie. Really give back the kind of clashes with your shield. What are you doing?

Oh. My.

You've thrown aside your shield and (gulp) are just wearing the Stetson!

There will be a brief interlude in the program

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, PJ, isn't that a great story about Keith Urban? I love it when people end up having a bit of integrity like that. Did you know he comes from a place about half an hour down the highway from me? Caboolture!

Annie, I'd love to go on a pub crawl with you and some of the Banditas. I'm really looking forward to Nashville! I'm hoping eventually to see most of the 50 states via RWA!

AndreaW said...

Hi, Joan!

I lurve me some Josh Turner. That deep voice ... *sigh* My kids and I love to sing his songs "Come go with me" and "Firecracker". :)


Cassondra said...

This is a great post Joanie.

I think I mentioned a few months ago that if anybody wants to make the rounds of the songwriter clubs at RWA 2010 I'll be glad to set that up. We'll have to plan it ahead of time and I'll make the calls and get us some space at the Bluebird and the other clubs that used to be my home away from home. I miss it. Don't go to songwriter shows much any more and haven't played those clubs in years.

That's the thing about the song you tells the truth about the way it is for me and it's a great statement of WHY country works for so many people..."It's like you sang those songs about me, and who I am. Songs about lovin' and livin' and good hearted women and family and God...yeah, they're songs about me....." It's the universal element that makes the genre so lasting.

And therein lies the appeal of country. I agree with Louisa that Hank Williams was one of a kind, but there are a good many following in his footsteps and writing simple songs that are just as profound. Not imitators though, and that's key. The thing about commercial music is that you don't want to sound like someone else--or write like someone else. It all goes back to, the conversation between the wannabe artist and the industry pro:

"But why won't you sign me to a deal, I sound just like Elvis."

"Elvis is dead and we don't need another one."

Many of those people writing those profound songs are songwriters, not artists--you'll never see them on tv or hear them on the radio but they write the words that make the genre come alive.

I have a blog about the three-minute novel--the country song, and it would have been the blog if Nancy hadn't agreed to take my day last week, so this is SO cool that we were thinking along the same lines. Country songs are a three-minute movie. And I think that's why they work fo well for me, because the lyrics are so important to me in a song. They need to make sense (okay sometimes they don't and I like a lot of pop too--very ecclectic in my musical tastes) but when I became a songwriter, I studied in the toughest songwriting school in the world--the Nashville commercial country market.

There's just nothing like it.
I can't name favorites. There are too many.

Cassondra said...

Get the album by Keith Urban with "Stupid Boy" on it. That's a great song.

AndreaW said...

Btw, Joan, it was great to meet you at M&M!!!


Kestrel said...

I grew up on country music...

Back in the day was the song "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue", by Crystal Gayle... even though I didn't have brown or true blue eyes, I loved that song!

My youngest sister's song was "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On", and she would strut her little 4 year old self, too cute!

My middle sister's song was "Daddy's Hands", because she was Daddy's girl...

I like the country music of that time (late 70's, all of the 80's), and I don't listen to much recent country, unless I hear people talking about it or I stumble on a country channel on the radio...

I have a good joke about country music though...

What happens when you play a country song backwards?

You get your wife back, your house back, your car back, your dog back, your job back... :)

Joan said...

Oh, Andrea. I know about Josh Turner.

Truly, there are not a lot of singers with deep bass voices who can sing enough of a variety of music to make a solo career.

Richard Sterban of the Oaks came close with his solos and contributions to the group.

Here is one of my favorite songs. Imagine wait. That's the Golden Girls.

Imagine a little, baby romance writer (in her teens)hearing this song.

Click on the "Dream On"

And Andrea, it was great meeting you too! (Did your sister ever fess up with the video?)

Joan said...

Ahhhhh, Cassondra, my KY sister.

I've been waiting all day for you to come and add warmth and richness and your wonderful perspective to my thoughts on my favorite music.

These songs do speak to people. I just listened to Dream On and closed my eyes, singing along and remembering a simpler, more hopeful time in my life.

I can't wait to get my inferior Mp3 to load all these memories on :-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wheee, Joanie T...That Josh...YUM!! And that voice, it's like molasses, dark, rich and sweeeeeeet.

Loved his collaboration with Ralph Stanley. Anyone who can blend his voice with THAT distinct rasp has got an amazing gift

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cassondra, I am so THERE with the pub crawl in Nashville. You set it up, I'll be there. Grins.

Joan said...

You get your wife back, your house back, your car back, your dog back, your job back... :)

ROFL....too funny Kestrel.

I have a little 4 year old friend and I could just see her strutting around in her princess outfit.

And Daddy's Hands. Love. That. Song.

My Daddy's been gone now for 15 years. Whenever I think of him, or reach out for that memory it is his hands that I can they looked, how they were there for me, the touch of his work worn hands, his strength.

Same for my Mama too.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Okay, okay, JT, I'm a snob. The MP3 will be superb, I'm sure. LOVE the Oaks, BTW. :> I also love anything a capella and I love it when you get a blend like the Oaks had and *shivers* magic.

Deb Marlowe said...

I loved the links you included, Joan. Don't you love that Trace Adkins go to answer that pesky question with one of his own songs!

If there was a country song about me, it would be about kids to feed, pages to write, homework to supervise, house to clean, husband to love, and not enough hours in the day!


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I forgot about the country song name for my life. Ha!

Mine would probably be titled Goin' Steady and have verses like this:

Did someone let the baby out and why does the dog have the bink? Is there time for us? No, there are dishes in the sink.

What about my writing time? The big boy's sick you say? The dog threw up, the Dow is down, what happened to that night we planned, where we were goin' out on the town?

No matter what life hits me with, I guess I'm lucky still.
Goin' steady with the hotest guy
I'm a really happy girl.
Goin' steady with two handsome sons
and two dogs up on the bed
Goin steady with my family's better than any book I've ever read...

(And so on...)

No trains, no d-i-v-o-r-c-e and no trucks, but I got everything else but God and Country in there. Grins.

Joan said...

Ah, Deb. You're a songwriter at heart.

Also a bit of a mind reader as I should be doing MY pages as we speak!

Joan said...

Jeanne, you didn't include anything about your iPod


I loved the line about the dog having the bink...LOL

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Haha. The new Irish Water Spaniel like to retrieve things. (surprise, surprise, right?) Our youngest still likes to have the bink at night, for about ten minutes - I know, I know! - but then he usually falls asleep and drops it on the floor. Diver, the dog, happily brings it in to us.

Joan said...

Diver, the dog, happily brings it in to us.

Please tell me you instantly autoclave it?

Jill James said...

I love today's country music.

Tim McGraw!!! I may be a bad boy, but I'm a real good man. Doesn't that just sum up a romance novel hero?

Joan said...

LOL, it sure does Jill!

Tim McGraw another great wearer of jeans :-)

And a darn good singer too.

Amy Andrews said...

LOL onlykeith - the best Aussies are the ones that were born overseas!!! Especially NZ - we love to claim them as our own :-)

And Anna got it right - Caboolture - not Redcliffe. That's where our Keith's from.

There's actually a song out called That's What You Get When You Play A Country Song Backwards by the Rascal Flats and it's hysterical.

There's this great new Aussie artist called Jasmine Rae who has this song called look it up - here the youtube link

Joan said...

WOW, Amy! What a great song and what a great singer!

Totally ticked why I've never heard of her over here in the States. Keith should have her as an opening act.

I'll call him. :-)

Boy, talk about your kick ass heroines. Look at Carrie Underwoods "Before He Cheats"

Put these two together and men would think TEN times before cheating.

Of course I have to wonder at their IQ's anyway to give up girls that look like that...

Joanie T who can only WISH she could wear skirts like that.

jo robertson said...

Wait, wait! I forgot to mention ALABAMA. I lurve their music and it's true-blue country. And they're so sexy.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

No autoclave, but I have one of those insta-hot hot water taps. It gets a hot rinse. :> Poor nurse JT, I can see you shuddering over that from here.

Hey, does anyone know which Kenny Chesney song they just played for the Monday Night Football intro?

Marisa O'Neill said...

"What happens when you play a country song backwards?

You get your wife back, your house back, your car back, your dog back, your job back... :)"

I spit my coke out on the keyboard!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Marisa! You and Maria have been rockin' it over at Running with Quills. Love the new logo too. :>

Oh, and you inspired me. I tried my hand at some Country lyrics too.


Louisa Cornell said...

back from the DDJ! Wow, you have all been very busy! I knew we were twins, La Campbell! Big Band and Country - a match made in heaven. Part of Dad's conversion could have been that once he retired from the Air Force we settled in Alabama rather than in Pennsylvania where he grew up.

People look through my CD and vinyl collection and go nuts. I have everything from an original pressing of Marion Anderson singing at the White House, to Kid Rock's latest, to everything Garth Brooks ever did, to Hank Williams (Senior and Junior,) to Beverly Sills, Elly Ameling, Luciano Pavarotti and then I have Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. I truly love blue grass. The soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou is one of my favorites.

I also have quite a bit of Zydeco music as it is also one of my favorites. The song ADIEU FALSE HEART by Arthur Smith is on a Linda Ronstadt album that is fabulous. Here are the lyrics :

Adieu false heart now we must part
May the joys of the world go with you
I love you long with a faithful heart
But never anymore can I believe you

I seen the time I'd a married you
And been your constant lover
But now I'd gladly give you up
For one whose heart is truer

You think you are too good for me
You think I am forsaken
But if you think I care for you
You are very much mistaken

My mind is like the constant sun
From the east to the west it ranges
But yours is like unto the moon
It's every month it changes

When I lay down to take my rest
No scornful one to wake me
I'll go straightway unto my grave
Just as fast as time can take me

Adieu false heart now we must part
May the joys of the world go with you
I love you long with a faithful heart
But never anymore can I believe you

And the melody is so plaintive and beautiful it makes you cry.

Some of country music's roots are in the music of Appalachia and that music can trace its roots to the songs of the troubadors and trouveres of the medieval period.

And Cassondra, I agree with you one hundred percent. The true masters of country music are the writers. Many of them never appear on stage, but they are the heart of soul of the music. Those country music singers I admire are also great song writers - Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Dolly Pardon to name a few.

Marisa O'Neill said...

Jeanne said: Hey Marisa! You and Maria have been rockin' it over at Running with Quills. Love the new logo too. :>

Hey the Banditas ROCK!! Your support and generosity overwhelms me. I'm ready to burst into song. Joan you've inspired me to make it a country song; I think I'll entitle it - Banditas, Banditas - They'll Rock Your World. Wait. Can you have ROCK in a Country Western Song?

Virginia said...

I loved the older country music singers like Willy Nelson, Marty Robins, Conway Twitty, they really told a story.

Amy Andrews said...

Hey Joan - Jasmine Rae's only quite new on our country music scene though she has 3 top 20 hits at the moment.
I love that Carrie Underwood song - but I had to Google what a Louisville slugger was. In fact there's been a couple of gals do really well since Idol. Kelly Pickler is also cutting a bit of swathe through country music isn't she? And I actually like the recent one that Jessica Simpson's done - Come on Over.

Joan said...

Can you have ROCK in a Country Western Song?

LOL, sure you can Marisa just add a steel guitar riff.

Bandita song. I'm sensing a theme for next year's Bash :0

Joan said...

Oh, Amy ya didn't have to Google. I LIVE in Louisville. We have a 3 story tall Louisville Slugger outside their museum.

BAM! Cheat on me huh!

I'm gonna be watching for that Jasmine Rae. She'd give the American girls a run for their money.

I like Kelly Pickler's Red High Heel song. In honor of Tawny and Anna S...

Poor girl's had a rough time of it lately according to People. Hope she finds her center.

And yeah, Jessica's ok...Jewel has a good one too. Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish also has a current hit out.

See....the country (US AND Aus) are coming to country... :-)

Thanks to everyone for playing today and watch for Marisa's debut album featuring her hit Bandita Rock.

Jeannie Ruesch said...

I'm a definite country fan...have been since I was little and my very large extended family would sing Alabama and Eddie Rabbit and other songs on holidays.

I do think that a country music discussion can not be complete, however, without mention of Martina McBride. A purer, more beautiful voice I've never heard.

We recently saw her in concert and she was even more amazing in person (which is rarely the case from my concert experiences.) Her voice is flawless, she puts so much energy and emotion into everything she sings. Amazing.

Other than her, Garth is my favorite. I've a huge fan of some of his less known songs, like The Storm, as well as more popular ones like Shameless or Lonesome Dove. Two of the best artists there are, IMO.

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Todd McCalla said...

Keith Urban played a unreal FREE concert in the parking lot of a Verizon Wireless store here yesterday in Franklin TN. He took a twelve year old boy named Grant from Lipscomb Elementary on stage to play a song with him. So cool!