Monday, December 06, 2004

Can't We All Just Get Along?

So I followed Ramon and Rob’s instructions to read the Alt-Country article at Relevant Magazine, and they were right: people are mean. If I were at IHOP with friends discussing the state of the Alt-Country (*whatever that is*) genre, and we had the opportunity to banter back and forth, I may have considered making some of the statements some of the people made. But as it stands, I felt like they were very critical of the author without taking the time to focus on what his article was actually saying. Basically his outline was this:

Thesis: Alt-Country Needs a Savior
1. These people use to rule Alt-Country
2. These people’s styles have changed over time, and their music is no longer considered Alt-Country so much
3. There aren’t so many artists keeping Alt-Country alive these days
Conclusion: Alt-Country Needs a Savior

Now, I have filtered in and out of various music obsessions throughout my stay on this earth, but Americana (a broader category of music in which Alt-Country dwells) is definitely my home and hearth. Thanks to my way-too-influential older sister, I have followed from Pop and mom’s Country, deep into New Wave laced with Punk, along my own tangent into Metal and Hair Bands, at her heels into rap, dance and hip-hop, dipping my toes into Classic-Rock, College-Rock, Jam Bands, and Americana, finally to be released into the wilds and chart my own path (somehow marriage and babies = death to music exploration for her). I dabbled in the Grunge thing, gave Country another chance, explored what had become known as Alternative music and that ever elusive Emo stuff, and finally settled on the fact that you could pretty much stick a box in front of me, tell me its music, and I’ll like it. While I fell in love with many artists and styles along the way, Americana has become my cornerstone.

And there’s a lot we can learn about getting along from Alt-Country (if we can overlook the Rhett Miller vs. Ryan Adams sissy-boy feud). If a butterfly flaps its wings, we’re gonna feel it eventually in the musical universe. One of my favorite movies growing up was the musically infused Valley Girl, which featured a little band called the Plimsouls. The lead singer of the Plimsouls, Peter Case, moved onto more of a singer-songwriter style and got hitched to the one-and-only Victoria Williams. While their love didn’t last, Victoria did remarry to (former) Jayhawks lead Mark Olson. Members of the Jayhawks collaborated with members of Wilco and Soul Asylum to form the almost-super group Golden Smog. Members of Wilco, being a branch along with Son Volt of Uncle Tupelo, have collaborated on a plethora of side projects, collaborations, and solo ventures. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a tiny glimpse, into the interconnectedness of the Americana world.

Now if Woody Guthrie can find his way through six-or-so degrees of separation to Nicholas Cage, can’t the rest of us learn to play nice?


saywhat said...

Hey...haha. I posted to the article right after you did, without reading your post first.

Everyone WAS getting waaaay to into the discussion. I thought it was a good article...although I did pick up a little from him along the lines of popular=bad and unknown=good. Which, lots of folks think this way. And I think that's a shame. It makes no logical sense, and mostly just serves to help the opinionated feel superior to 'the common radio-listening folk'. I'm getting way to into it. :)RDA

Ramonsito said...

I actually suggested you read the "Five easy steps to being an Indie snob" article. But, this one sounds interesting.

As for collaborations, how about Mutual Admiration Society? In what other genre of music does that happen? Actually...there's kind of a collaboration thing that goes on in hip hop a lot, but I don't even really know how to make that comparison. So, I'll shut up now.

Anonymous said...

hello, neighbors to the northeast!

this is the author of the article from relevant...i followed your link from that article to this blog. and i must say...nothing will make a blogger feel much better about themselves than another blogger commenting on their blog...follow?

so anyway, thanks for your kind words and also for continuing the discussion on this more kind and gentle section of the little internet.

i have scrolled through your blog and have been pretty dang entertained, so i will link you on my own blog, and i will be back here soon, so be NICE.


p.s. my blog is you will see my posts encouraging my readers (all 3 of 'em) to boycott relevant until they finally posted my article, and subsequently encouraging them to go on a relevant-spending spree once they did post it. good for relevant!

Kimberly said...

Rachel ~ I should have known I'd find you there...
Ramon ~ I tend to rewrite history...
Ronnie ~ I'm honored, welcome to my corner of the world...
...all of your names start with 'R'. Just an observation.