I only listen to channel 10 and 14 on XM....country and bluegrass.
From an audio point of view, I think the natural sound of a banjo is one of the most difficult instruments to reproduce faithfully thru a sound system.
Gentelman is a man who knows how to play banjo but doesn't!
The country I like is the old stuff, Hank Williams
, Patsy Cline
and Eddy Arnold
I'm still moved by Patsy Cline's "Crazy' and "I Fall to Pieces," the lady has class like Ella Fitzgerald, regardless if you care for her music or not.
Of the modern folk that do "country" I do love and admire Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris. Some of these folks are so sincere and so talented you have to love them, even if you don't intend to.
Country Swing- one of the best is- Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys for the Last Time.
Gram Parsons is someone to check out. (He let Emmylou join the band).
For such a long time I listened to the only two musical genres known to mankind, Country AND Western. They are far more separated today. In fact Country has many divisions within itself. Country swing, sW Country, Tex Mex, Rock-a-Billy, Traditional, Pop Country (my absolute least fav genre... as it resembles just plain old bad rock & roll or pop music... Not Country), Cowboy, etc.
Bluegrass used to be THE country sound. It is now it's own quite specific genre/sound, and has remained more unchanged than Country or Western music. IMO.
I believe the thing that keeps Bluegrass music so pure is its acoustic signature. IMO there is something to be said for NOT plugging in the instruments every time!
Singers used to be the song writers. New top talent used to be those whose songs were those which told the truth sincerely. A different sound or style that contained the aforementioned aspects were those chosen and promoted by the recording industry. They were the Cash's, H Howards, H Williams, L Frizzells, B Owens, L Lynns, D Partons, Carter's Wills, & Monroes.
Now it's more the next pretty face with some talent, yet no particularly individualistic sound song writting ability, or style.
New & Fresh, account presently for the industries primary contenders and more highly promoted, uh, artists these days than ever before. There's a new one just about each week. I've quit keeping up with them all.
Travis Tritt said it best in one of his songs... "Country ain't country any more" Bluegrass, however, still is as honest as it has ever been.
The new Cash's, Haggard's, & Jones' are the Paisleys', Nichols', Straits', Atkins' & Jackson's. Some of which, like their predecessors emmulate past greats with either their sound or styles... ie., Williams (Strait), Frizzell (Haggard, Nichols), Wills (Asleep At the Wheel) Buck owens (Dwight y), etc.
Ill continue to tune in and out searching for talent with unique style and sound, and let the latest sensation prove or disprove themselves by their efforts, not their CD sales.
I like, and listen to a lot of country (as well as bluegrass), old (traditional) and new (pop), but not all. It's probably 10% of my listening though. I listen mostly to Jazz, Rock (though this also includes country rock), and Classical.
I love Country music, however NOT the pop music they call Country on the mainsteam radio. Americana, Alt Country and Bluegrass are great.
Townes Van Zandt
Billy Joe Shaver
Flying Burrito Brothers
Willie and Waylon of course
A few that come to mind right of hand.
It is good to hear other people's views on country music. It seems as if many of you have respect for country music of past decades and generations.
Buffalo Springfield and Poco were my first tastes of country.
Since then I've enjoyed many of the artists mentioned here.
Patsy Cline and Hank Williams both produced an incredible amount of great work in their short careers. She died at 31, he at 30.
to my ears, 98% of what's marketed as country, including most of the mainstream cowboy hat stuff, ranges from inconsequential to really terrible (although in fairness, you could say the same thing about rock). the 2% of country that's good, however, is very good--soulful, poignant, emotionally direct. i most of muzikat's picks; i'd also throw in roseanne cash, hank williams, foster and lloyd, townes van zandt, old 97s, gillian welch and the jayhawks (genre lines get kinda blurry)
I used to say with a snobbish attitude, I listen to all kinds of music, except country music. I don't say that anymore. Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, old Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and George Jones are as good as any pop/rock singers. The righful heirs to this tradition are Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynn, Wilco, and other artists mentioned above, not the marketing-driven poseurs that pass for country musicians these days. What people call "alt-country" (I hate that term) is closer to real country music IME.
Great thread! I mostly listen to "rock" but have been collecting C&W for 40 years. Agree will all that has been said above.
There was a ton of stuff released in the 60's & 70's that is straight out country. You can find a lot of stuff on ebay that is still sealed for reasonable prices (and some not so reasonable). Any Haggard or Owens from the sixties sound real good.
Avoid the "Nashville Sound" and "Countrypolitan" style records from the sixties and seventies unless you like your country with orchestration.
You may want to check out the Gary Stewart records from the 70's- some straight country and some really good rockin country ala Jerry Lee Lewis and others.
There is still some hard core country being made, like honk tonk and what not, but you have to search it out.
Willie's Place on XM still plays a lot of straight country.
For some current Texas style straight country check out "Heart of Texas Records."
You might find something you've never heard and like it!
Big fan of alt-country and bluegrass although right now maybe more alt-bluegrass as well. To add to Muzicat and LoomisJohnson's lists, include:
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Patty Loveless (esp Mountain Soul, one of the best "bluegrass/americana" records in many a year)
Guy Clark maybe qualifies.
some Cowboy Junkies covers qualify
If you like country swing, give Asleep @ the Wheel a try.
For an interesting (to me anyways) blend of folk/bluegrass/country type sounds, w some swing in there as well, try
Eddie From Ohio.
I really like a lot of old country (hated it as a kid in KY where everyone listened to it). I'm not a fan of most of the new stuff you hear on the radio today because it just sounds like pop with a country accent.
I like a lot of the older artist listed above, as well as most of the alt-country listings above. A couple of my favorites that are not listed above are David Ball (Thinkin' Problem) and Dwight Yoakum. Thinkin' Problem and most of DY's stuff is recorded very well and sounds great.
For something a bit different, try some Jam-Grass. If you like Greatful Dead or Phish and want to ease into some country, check out Blueground Undergrass. Here's a like to a download site where you can either download lots of their concerts or stream one to try it out. It's fun and it's free! Try it.......
Some of the George Strait, "The Chair", Seashores of Old Mexico--Vicky Van Shelton--"I Meant Every Word He Said",
Tracy Byrds, "Keeper of the Stars", (written by Dicky Lee of '60s "Patches", "Strange things Heppen in this World" fame, wrote it.)
Finally, "Mud on the Tires" Album, with "He Put a Bottle to His Head And Pulled the Trigger", a duet with Allison Kraus--these are all wonderful, classic Country Tunes.
You have to be prepared to blanche at first, if you're a non believer. I was one for 30 years. Then, instead of dismissing, I listened with an open mind. Get out the Hankeys, lots of tears in the beers music here. Plus the obvious classic Patsy Cline's "Crazy" written by Willie Nelson, (maybe the most often used music in movies ever, in bar scenes).
Give 'em a shot.
I gave a seminar in Connecticut, and the group of about 40 or 50, can't remember was shy about recommending music, so I played a couple of these tunes. At the end of the seminar, the guys were lining up to get the names of both the performers AND the albums, the country one's not the others. Interesting.
BTW, right now, "Kind of Blue" with Miles Davis, is on the CD player--it doesn't have to be one or the other.
Absolutely do. From Emmylou to Merle to George Jones to Willie to Waylon to Johnny---the road does go on forever.
No one has mentioned Junior Brown. Not that well known, and he does rip off into rock during his classically country songs, but he is a great guitarist and he writes some really good old country stuff. Check out his CD "Guit With It", containing such tear jerkers as "Highway Patrol" and my personal favorite, "My Wife Thinks Your Dead".
I will second the excellent Junior Brown,Iris Dement is another artist I like. Probably a few more but as I do not listen much to country artists' names and bands elude me as I type.
Poco, NRPS, Marshall Tucker, Some Dead, Patsy Cline
Heck Ya....I love country! (but then.... I love jazz, rock, newage, classical, blues....you name it).
I think I even heard a rap song I liked once....(-:
Good one Dave...
KHagen, I saw Jr when that record was new---love it. Your wanted by the police but my wife thinks your dead. So great.
Also totallyt love Iris Dement. Soo so so many great country artists.
The Eagles began as a country band.
BB King does W Nelson's Nightlife' and made a hit of it for himself.
Ray Charles made a hit out of Harlon Howards "busted".
And everybody made Dolly's retirement fund by recording, I'll always love you... a big Xover hit.
Hoyt Axton who clearly made his fame singing and writting Country songs also Xovered into POp/Rock with the tunes he wrote for 3 Dog Night... and his mom? mae Axton made Elvis' day when he recorded Heartbreak Hotel.
When there's more truth in the song than rhyme, and sizzle or sparkle, you usually find a good song writter behind it... American music or Country music now, used to get a lot of these sorts and the music world at large benefitted from them by rearranging their songs to suit another genre..
American/Alt.country is my most listened-to genre, although as has been said, genre lines get tricky. A few of my favorites, not yet mentioned on this thread:
Two Cow Garage
Be Good Tonyas
Crooked Still (better than average recordings for genre)
and of course,
Some country musics are good, it only reminds me when i was on texas. My parents are fans of country music.
I don't care for most "top 40" country, but I like what many now term "Americana", Folk, folk rock,, etc. and I like bluegrass, though not on a daily basis. There are some good "channels" that offer these genres at RadioIO, Rhaphsody, etc. To me, Americana and Folk are now the real country music. Top 40 country is packaged/commercial/video based music with little appeal to me these days. There are some great voices in country music, such as Martina McBride, but he music itself offers little substance.
Consider also Dave Alvin, Robert Earl Keen, and Lyle Lovett.
The recs from Der are all good ones. Lovett tends to make good recordings, I think. (Though I prefer, in some ways, his scruffy ex-roomie, Robert Earl Keen.) J
all country except todays radio country. 1950-1984 all good country.todays country steel drivers big and rich .whitey ford and the 78's to name a few .
Yes, as Jdoris said, genre descriptions get a little mixed up, but if you like your country with a side order of rock, or your rock with a side of country, one of my favorites are The Bottle Rockets. Saw them last week in NYC. Great show. Give them a listen.
Seconding Geodos on the Bottle Rockets. "Brand New Year" is good fun. Factoid: Brian H., the frontman for the Bottle Rockets, was road manager for Uncle Tupelo. Used to get up on stage and jam with them. On the topic of country-sh St. Louis bands, Nadine's "Downtown Saturday" is not to be missed.
For a completely different direction, try Robinella, "Solace for the Lonely." Very interesting voice -- maybe like a countryfied Billie Holiday.
The Bottle Rockets are Great! A little more Rock than Country.
I saw them open for John Fogerty, never heard them before.
Since that concert I have bought everyone of there CD's.They are kind of hard to find. Amazon has them.
Best CD is 24 Hours a day!
They just came out with a new CD.
The new Roseanne Cash album, "The List" is terrific. The duet, Sea of Heartbreak, with Springsteen is alone worth the price of admission.
Other guests include Elvis Costello, Larry Campbell, Rufus Wainwright, and of course John Leventhal.
The vinyl version sounds great and is very quiet.
Back to our regular scheduled programming......
The new Roseanne Cash album is on way to my house. Especially looking forward to "Girl from the North Country"; the version dad did with Bobby D. is a heartbreaker.
May as well add Juli Miller's "Broken Things" to the suggestion list.:)
The best country songwriters are great - most have been listed already but I'd add the short lived Delevantes to that list. Harder core country old time writers like the Louvin Brothers have some great moments, even though I'd have a hard time listening at length. Alt Country rockers like Uncle Tupelo and the "nephew" bands - Wilco, Sun Volt, Bottle Rockets - have their charms (I love a lot of this stuff), but they don't really feel particularly "country" to me. They feel more like rockers who add a fidddle or banjo to add some country flavor. 16 Horsepower adds an interesting "hillbilly" vibe to this genre.
I also like some of the country rock women like Kim Richey (great live show), even though they're usually a bit lightweight compared to the Emmy Lou Harris, Patsy Cline, etc class and also edge closer to pop/rock. The Faith Hill, Crystal Gayle, Matraca Berg school includes some really good voices singing music of really variable quality - usually more "pop" than "country".
Country music has also produced some great guitarists, Flatt and Scruggs and Chet Atkins come to my mind first. Danny Gatton is mostly country and the 3 main players in Bob Wills' Playboys band were all wonderful. Pete Anderson, Greg Leisz (lap steel) and so many others, too.
You have made some wonderful insights about country music and the vocal as well as guitar talents.
For some texture which builds upon country super stars fame, check out The Flatlanders and the 3 guys who spun off from that group. Joe Ely in particular. The Derailers buck Owens Rockabilly sounds.
Previous to those, The Texas Tornadoes TexMex traditional & alternatives to the Nashville sound.
New age artists that carry on a more traditional country flavor are Jolie Holiday on her A real Good Day album; Monty & the Pythons with their The Real Thing CD; heather Myles with her CD, Sweet Talk & Good Lies; Melonie Cannon's self titled inaugural disc is super, her follow up album "The Wheels Turn" has some critical social statement soungs namely, Cactus In a Coffee Can, which is just outstanding.
If you look past the bigger and brighter spotlit stars of todays country music artists, you will find real substance still but it's mixed into the flotsom and jetsom that country pop is currently so vested into. Singer songwirters like Singletary, Worley, Adkins, Wariner, and Chris LeDoux come to mind momentarily.
country is still country, it's just getting a bit harder to find it.
I like Jamey Johnson's cd....and i like the old Pat Green stuff (and it's well recorded)
Dwight Yoakam is probably my all time favorite---thousand miles from nowhere and albums before.
Just got Kendel Carson, "Rearview Mirror Tears." Worth a listen. "I Like Trucks" a fun romp, and "Just What Happened to the Moon," one of the prettiest new songs I've heard in a while. John
I like 50's and 60's country, not too much beyond that point.
The new alternative stuff is okay sometimes, the commercial variety has been hopeless for decades IMO. Garth Brooks, a very talented man, represents the low point for me I guess.
Older country acts like Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Porter Wagoner, Jim Reeves, Chet Atkins, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I like lots of other country acts including some newer acts when I hear them. Yes I am even a Scotty McCreary fan.
Really enjoying Holly Williams, The Highway (2013). She's Hank Sr.'s granddaughter/Jr.'s daughter/Hank III's half sister. Nice Jackson Brown accompaniment on a couple songs. Her album from 2009 is great too, enjoy.
I am also a fan of Rosanne Cash.
Anyone else think that she and her father are one or the more prolific and talented father/daughter tandems in recent times?
Definitely ahead of Billy Ray and Miley, at least so far... :)
I also like a lot of country rock oriented acts like, ALlman Brothers, Skynyrd, New Riders, Little River Band, NItty Gritty DIrt Band, Outlaws, Diamond Rio, and many others.
Roseanne's "A List" is a great record. She takes on a dozen (+ or -) classics and just nails 'em. She and Johnny definitely set the father daughter musical standard in my book.
Do you mean "The List", or is there something else she made I have missed?
I think "The List" is crap. Sounds like every part was recorded in a different location and phoned in. Pretty but soulless.
Yeah I have the list and like it a lot. Nice recording as well.
Not sure if that was a brain cramp or typo. The List is the name of the album.
I know several folks that agree with Drubin, but I think it's a GREAT collection of songs and I love the way Roseannne sings 'em. Can't comment on SQ off the top of my head as its been mostly in rotation in my car over the last several years, but I don't get the "soulless" criticism at all.
I love pretty much every interpretation on the album and several, including "500 Miles" and "Bury Me", strike me as very possibly definitive versions of (often covered) classics. She's certainly understated in her delivery, but I think that's a very good thing. I guess that one man's meat.....