Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lonesome Roads and Country Music

"My name is Mike and I am a country music fan."

It's one of those statements that feels like it should be followed by a 12 step program

  1. Admit that you are a country fan
  2. Express the desire to change
  3. Get rid of your country CDs
  4. Practice walking past the bars that have signs saying "Line Dancin' Tonite"
  5. Apologise to all the people you played country songs to after saying "you'll really like this, honest".
  6. Apologise on bended knee to all the people you actually sang country songs to, especially when you were trying to sound like Kris Kristopherson and dragged your way through "Take The Ribbon From Your Hair".
  7. Start watching MTV
  8. Carry on watching MTV and try to pretend you enjoy the music more than Punk'd or Dismissed
  9. Lose the alligator boots, the string tie, the silver wing tips and that damned hat.
  10. Go to Karioke and try to sing like Robbie Williams
  11. Go to Jazz clubs and try to stay awake
  12. Admit to yourself that none of this is working, breathe a sight of relief and celebrate by buying a copy of "Childish Things" and learning all the words to "We Can't Do It Here"

I was reminded of my closet Country Fan status last night when I was on the road, driving across Switzerland for three hours (drive any longer than that and you've left country). It was dark and wet, the traffic was light, the working day was over but I still had miles between me and the comforts of home. So I turned on the radio to find myself some tunes to keep me company on the lonesome road.

Swiss radio is an eclectic mix with stations in German, French and Italian and all kinds of music mixed in together. The same station that plays you "The Black-eyed Peas" will also play German Rap (you have to hear it to believe it - those German words are looooooong) and French power ballads like the recently popular "Fuck 'em All". The Swiss have catholic tastes. The Top 5 Tunes at the moment are: Rihanna "Unfaithful", Scissor Sisters "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'", Robbie Williams "Rudebox", Justin Timberlake "SexyBack" and Tiziano Ferro "Stop! Dimentica". So, when I turned on the radio I wasn't searching for country but it found me anyway.

DRS 3 had a "Country Special" night. DRS is a PBS station transmitting in Swiss German but it turns out that they love country. The talked me through the Americana Music Awards, filled me in on how Dillon is back in fashion and then played me some tunes that made my foot tap (not a good idea when you're driving) and my ears open wide.

If you're a closet Country Fan or even if you're a straight MOR/Pop person who's "just curious", I recommend you take a listen to James McMurty who just won song of the year and album of the year. The song is "We can't do it here" and it's on the winning album, "Childish Things". The song is about how the rich mess up and the poor pay the price. It's political without being preachy. The words are direct and powerful and the music feels like you've known it all your life but you still find it exciting.

If you're in the mood for a little more after that, take a look at country band called The Greencards (1 Brit and 2 Ozzies, which explains the name) and listen to "Weather and Water" which is an atmospheric folk/country fusion that lingers after the track stops.

Anyways, I can't idle here no more. I got me a livin to make. You folks take care now.

No comments: