Sunday, May 29, 2011

All heroes die at… 30!

Janis Joplin died at the age of 27, Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27, Kurt Cobain died at the age of 27. BUT Patsy Cline died at the age of 30. Three years too late to be a star?
Hell, NO!
She had an incredible contralto voice. And how did she use it! If you’re looking for violins and leather boots that’s a wrong choice. Patsy Cline’s pure silk and sophistication. She brought country to entirely new dimension, as a matter of fact. She loved to mix genres – that’s Hank Williams – inspired country, with a little bit of Elvis Presley tender popular music and Ella Fitzgerald’s jazz at times. You need a little bit of swinging? That’s the choice. It’s only a pity that all great songs are sad. Cause Cline had quite a lot of great songs. And they were sad.
Before her life ended sadly and unexpectedly, Cline had a couple of good moments. She was born in 1932 in Virginia. A severe throat illness changed her voice into a real talent. The end of 1950 witnessed her debut and great popularity. She joined Grand Ole Opry, country music stage concert in Nashville, which was her dream.  She had also a couple of downs, really. She almost died in a head – on car accident in 1961. She irrevocably died in an airplane crash near Camden, Tennessee in March 1963.
Her Crazy is a classic. And it's awesome. I mean it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Exegi monumentum aere perennius - country lit?

Country is pure poetry. It’s the muse’s whisper with a little bit of violin section. Afflatus in leather boots in fact. Well, there is at least one poem referring directly to country music. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for Gary Snyder’s I Went Into The Maverick Bar
Gary Snyder is one of the Beats, probably less popular than Kerouac but still alive. His lifestyle seems not so spectacular, however very active: he’s a Zen believer, environmental activist, lecturer, poet and vagabond.
The poem has been published in 1974, while Merle Haggard’s song it refers to (already described - Okie from Muskogie) in 1969. It quotes the first verse of Haggard’s song with a slightly changed spelling of Muskogee (Muskokie). Interestingly both works share similarly ambiguous attitude towards the small – town, Southern values.
Haggard’s lyrics ridicule the Okies as squares. However, by the end of the song I start to wonder whether Haggard really had no sympathy for the stiff, straight and provincial culture of the South. Think of The Fugitives movement in American literature (google it) – the Southern people, the “gentle irony” ones, understatements, mock heroic verse, the helpless enchantment of the region, the struggle to make it culturally or intellectually noticeable. I believe there’s some similarity here. At least I badly need one to prove my thesis.
Similarly, Snyder's poem places the speaking person as the rebellious stranger in the squares’ community in Farmington. He’s the marijuana and LSD kind of person (still worse – the unthinkable long hair!!!). He observes the common and naïve entertainments of the people somewhat being over them. Yet he feels certain longing for them – he "could almost love [them]." Still realizing it is the stupid America. So he comes back to the “real work." By the way, the last verse is a quote from Lenin.
However, in Snyder’s the ambiguity about the small – town values may be explained by his little crush on Robinson Jeffers (eco - poet [whom I long thought to be a woman]). Still, Snyder is double ironic in his poem – not only he ridicules the Okies from his beat viewpoint but also makes them listen to music which in fact mocks them (or doesn’t it?)
It is worthwhile to see the two texts as a kind of dialogue. You start to wonder then if country could go beat or the beats could go country. Two big themes of both currents already intertwine – America and music. And both Ginsberg and Haggard wore beards.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Oh, I fought for you, little blue apple of my eye! They wanted to take you away from me! They wanted to separate us! But I won’t let them! You’re mine! My prrreciousssssssss! I’m the Gollum of the country blog!
Due to certain rearrangements in our Culture Class schedule for this semester, I’m going to operate this blog on my own. No more Country People. I’m THE Country Person. Last of the Mohicans meeting Last Man Standing meeting Last Airbender. Lots of meeting, huh…?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Crash on country

Although Nashville and Hollywood are not exactly in the same state, country music successfully entered into the big screen years ago. Yet, the movie Crash not only includes Merle Haggard Swinging Doors on its soundtrack, but it also fosters artist’s musical comeback skillfully referring to the image of his youth.
Haggard was born in 1937 in California. It took him only 13 years to get to prison for the first time – he got involved in petty crimes (e.g. shoplifting in a lingerie place – curious place to shoplift for a spotty teenage boy) and truancy. For the next 10 years he completed an impressive list of crimes and offences:
-          Petty larceny
-          Avoiding serving the sentence
-          Burglary
-          Attempt of robbery
-          Organizing illegal gambling in prison
-          Organizing a brewing racket in his cell
Upon meeting a hopeless drunk in prison, Haggard decided to change his life. As he earlier played country for living in Texas, this was the professional direction he headed after release from prison. However, the omnipresent in Nashville honky tonk sort of music, infuriated Haggard. His first records were a voice of discontent to “candy entertainment”. Increasingly Haggard started recording more political pieces, usually of more “parochial” nature (Okie From Muskogee). Adding to it his former reputation, the musician became associated with the outlaw music (long hair, denim and lather, scruffy look, rawness and vitality, drinking, drugs, hard working men and honky tonk heroes, more like rock and roll and little strings in the background.
The movie feeds on this image of Merle Haggard as it tries to clash the notions of good and evil. Haggard did great music - 1:0 for him. He deliberately broke the law at numerous occasions – 1:1. He underwent a major spiritual change that transformed his ways – 2:1. That’s the score for Haggard. This is not the score for the movie though. Crash presents a way more complicated calculation of what is right and what is wrong – the wrong accidentally turn out to be good, the good fail, the wrong seem more sympathetic and the good become disillusioned. Crash is all shades of gray in fact. It’s so in between black and white that it is difficult to hope for a 2:1 for good in real life. Even a draw seems an optimistic bet.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sesame Street went country!

We've had two posts about funny people trying to do country (no hard feelings, Gwen, we support you) and now it's time for serious country people trying to be funny... and succeeding!

Don't be ashamed to admit - you watched Sesame Street as a kid, we know you did. Just one show for a few minutes (wink), but you basically know the scenery - learning alphabet through happy songs and laughing puppets teaching you difficult words. What you might fail to notice as a kid is that a lot of stars appear on this show. Also country stars!

And without keeping you waiting any longer, here comes the man in black, our favorite, Johnny Cash!

Oh, those joyful melodies setting a positive example for younger generations! Wait...what?

Now Nasty Dan was a nasty man the whole day long
He'd go where he could and he'd try real good to make things go wrong
He'd jump for joy when a little boy would trip and fall
And the only words that he ever said were "I don't like you at all."

Nasty Dan was a nasty man
Hard to understand that Nasty Dan

That's pretty funny, though.

As I read the comments below this video, I learnt that only Johnny Cash could make Oscar (this rude green puppet living in a garbage bin) so obedient. Basically the greatest badass on Sesame Street met "his kind of guy."

I hope you liked it, take care and "have a rotten day!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nergal goes country!

Now, this is even better! We made Nergal (Doda's ex- boyfriend, leader of Behemoth) start a country career.
According to not so credible, Nergal is about to leave his pagan metal band and pursue new blues and country audience. Apparently, he lost his inspiration for the heavy beat. No details about record contract are given, neither the dates of concerts. However we are still very grateful for the interest in our website that you took, Mr. Nergal. We are happy to be your new source of ideas.
For our bank account number, please e-mail us.

*There is no decisive proof that Mr. Nergal did not change his mind about music after reading this blog, so it is equally probable that we did influence him.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow goes country!

We are POWERFUL. WE are awesome. We made Gwyneth Paltrow start a country singer career!
As tabloids report, Gwyneth Paltrow is about to sign a $900,000 contract with Atlantic Records for her first full length music project that is to be released this year. The type of music is called country pop and the idea for a new path of career emerged after Paltrow’s work on Glee and, more importantly, on Country Strong. The actress performed the leading song of the movie Coming Home on the Oscars night and the CMA Awards. Her own album will allegedly consist of a duet with Jay – Z, who’s a friend of Gwyneth and her husband Chris Martin (of Coldplay).
See, this is how the Internet works – a group of anonymous Poles writes a blog about country, an American superstar reads it, gets inspired and decides to start the only right show- bizz career – country singing. Or at least, there’s no conclusive proof against this theory.