Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I miss Country Western Music!

Jim Reeves
I really do! I miss Country Western Music!

I really miss being able to hear great songs that weren't hard to sing along with. I miss music that's not blaring and as no melody and beat. I miss the days when bands knew how to drop their sound back and let the vocalist sing his or her heart out.

That's what I really miss? I miss great vocals with silky voices as smooth as a good whiskey. I miss so-so vocals on catchy tones that stuck in my head and couldn't shake them. I miss the words as well as the music!

The test of this modern music is how long it will live, and I don't see it around to pass the test of time.

In contrast Big Band leader Glenn Miller died more than 65 years ago, his sound brought an entire generation through World War II, and yes friends he's still being played today.

Bob Wills
Bob Wills, was an American Western Swing musician, songwriter and a band leader, who is considered the father of Western swing. Bob Wills name will forever be associated with Western Swing. His work lives on and people enjoy it.

There are Country Western voices like Jim Reeves, Elvis Presley, Marty Robbins, Bo Gibson, Eddy Arnold, Frankie Lane, Don Williams, Charley Pride, Ed Bruce, Tom T. Hall, and that of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Anne Murray, Emmylou Harris, and groups like the The Statler Brothers who live on.

People bought their music because they could sing and it was wonderful music. It sure wasn't for the theatrics of in your face booming noise and pyrotechnics at their concerts. It was for the words!

Yes, I miss great Western vocals. I miss the words that used to come with great stories and poetry.

Lyrics that made you feel good inside and you enjoyed it. Above all else, I miss vocals that were sung and not screamed. I miss songs that were not overpowered by instrumentals, electric bass guitars, drums, and the rise of synthesizers that void the lyrics.


Yes, Jim Reeves! He had a voice. He sang. And yes, he didn't scream out a song!

I hate screaming being passed off as music. I hate, absolutely hate, the whole idea that some idiot with a loud obnoxious band can be called Musicians.

I have a sister that can't hold a note or play a single musical instrument. She has been like that all her life, but that does not stop her from trying to sing at Christmas. God Bless her for trying, but the fact is that she can't sing.

I remember when she was a child and she used to rap her bowl on her high chair. Trust me when I say that that she wasn't a musician by any stretch of the imagination. It wasn't music that she was making, it was just noise.

It makes me wonder how many of today's so-called "musician" really believe they have talent when all they are doing is making noise. Noise, white noise, loud noise, bad horrible noise. Heck, I can't help but wonder these days if some of these bands hire their so-called musicians just for their ability to help the band drown out a lousy vocalist who like my sister can't really carry a tone but yet earnestly trys because she thinks she can.

There was once upon a time when music had heart and voices that lifted your spirit and made you want to sing. There was a time when music didn't forcefully throw away the words, and yes you would actually be able to hear what was being said.

There were beautiful stories, there was poetry, there was emotion that made you feel something deep inside you and stirred memories and fascination, pride and wonder. Maybe the song touched you to the point of you shedding a tear? Maybe you felt a smile sweep across your face? Maybe it was a good feeling and it touched some cord in you that wanted to join in the song?

There was a time when a handful of singers came forth because they could sing and they had voices that people wanted to listen to. The music wasn't designed to disguise a singers lack of talent or disappointing range, it was there to proudly present the singer and showcase their abilities.

It was singing and not screaming, and please don't mistake screaming for singing, I've known screamers who thought they had talent and screamed thinking they're singing. Trust me when I say that they weren't.

Janis Joplin trying to get through "Piece of my heart" was a first class offender of this. Heck, maybe she was the start of the whole let's scream through songs style of preforming.  

There was a time when songs had words and they meant something. Most were written as sort of poetry for singers who had voices that made you want to turn up the radio and listen to their emotion pouring through the radio.

Emotion? Yes, there was emotion. Love and heartache, loneliness and yearning, pride and admiration, a great message.

So where did it go? What happened to wonderful voices like that of Shelly West and Kathy Mattea? Heck, what has happened to Country Western Music?







Well, first they took the Western out of it along with the steel guitar. And lately, as though getting rid of the Western part of the genre wasn't bad enough, now they the Nashville Country Music executives want to take the Country out of it as well.

I remember going to a Hank Williams Jr. concert back about 12 years or so ago. During his show which was mostly Heavy Metal, he went into an almost 15 minute electric guitar riff solo.

First off I couldn't believe it. Then I couldn't believe my eyes as I sat there and watched people get up and leave. Yes, it was that bad.

It was interesting that he didn't cut it short when more than half of the audience walked out. It was a horrible show. I thought he stunk!

Lately I find that Brad Paisley seems to prefer throwing in those long guitar riff solos into his music. When I'm listening to one of his songs on the radio and hear him going into a riff, I change the Station to something else.

I honestly hope that he has better luck keeping an audience. I know that I won't go to listen to a guitar riff.  I think long drawn out riffs have a way of destroying a song.

Thanks God that we've had a few great hold outs in the County Music world. Thank God for wonderful singers from the old school when Western music meant singing.

Thank God for George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Reba McEntire, who haven't hid their wonderfully gifted voices behind blaring synthesizers.




George Strait's Cross My Heart demonstrates that Country Music can be enjoyable and touching and last the test of time.

And by the way, there is hope! Yes there is. There are some relatively new singers like Easton Corbin and Josh Turner, and yes a few others, who are fighting an uphill battle against Nashville.

Nashville where Country Music executives want to turn all of today's Country Music into just more horribly noisy Southern Rock.



Yes, there are a few out there who still sing and can be sung with. And yes, I support their efforts to bring back the steel guitar, the fiddle, and sing in a way that they can be heard.

To me, most of today's Country Music is just loud obnoxious Rock and Roll. It is mostly nothing but noise and headache material. Most of it seems to be meant as what is called "Cross Over" music trying to appeal to the kids who like loud in your face noise.

It seems that Country Music is now for Head Bangers, Metal Heads, Heavy Metal Dropouts and Old Hippies, all who seem to believe that loud senseless noise is considered music.

They say, "Play I Loud!"

I say, "Turn It Off!"


Story by Tom Correa

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