Holly’s latest post at The Song In My Head Today got me thinking a little bit about country music. I don’t have a lot of exposure to country music and, while I’ve been listening to more of it over the last few years, I’m aware that on some level I don’t get it. There’s a small sub-set of country music which I like a lot, the more folky or singer/songwriter segment, but outside of that I find myself becoming lost.
So I’ve been thinking about the differences between country music and the pop music that I’m more comfortable with. I have some vague thoughts that I’m trying to pull together but, for now, I wanted to link to this video of Jerry Jeff Walker giving a fantastic live performance from, I’d guess, the late 70s. Watching it makes me feel like there really was a split between country music and pop music at some point. I know there’s always been a lot of crossover (Patsy Cline? Dolly Parton) even before the 90s when the pop side of country became essentially indistinguishable from mainstream popular music. But watching that song (“Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother”) he really shares a musical idiom with the audience; it’s obvious that both he and the audience are really comfortable and enjoying themselves, and it isn’t the same performance vocabulary as pop music.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, and tell me in comments if you think that’s the case, but go watch the video, it’s worth it.