Sunday, March 20, 2011

Learning To Love Country

Most of my friends and people who have followed my writing at know that I love just about any form of independent music and many have read countless reviews of post-hardcore, emo and indie-rock bands that I have written over the years. But, today I have a confession to make. While I still love all those bands and still listen to them regularly, lately another genre has been gradually taking over a good share of plays on my radio and my iPod. That genre would Wow, it was odd for me to even type that. Despite having relatives from the south, I generally stayed away from country and I hated it growing up. I don't remember why I felt that way initially, but I would avoid it at all costs.

However, the past few years I have slowly been warming up to the genre. While I still dislike a majority of the songs that dominate country radio stations, I do enjoy some of the songs. I think the reason I started being drawn to the genre was just from exposure. My fiancee absolutely LOVES country music and when she is driving, which is almost all of the time, that is what we listen to. So after awhile, I really grew to like some of the songs. I also think that as I get older, some of the lyrical themes really start to relate more to my day to day life than songs that are more abstract and sound like the soundtrack to breaking shit. I am going to be getting married soon, living on my own and working and something about the lyrical themes in the lyrics of the country artists I listen to just fit into what I am experiencing.

However, one thing that hasn't changed about my listening habits is listening to bands that have a DIY spirit that initially drew me into the world of indie-rock and many other forms of alternative music. Below are some of the artists that I am listening to now and even if you aren't a fan of country music, check them out with an open mind and you might find something you enjoy.

The Only Sons - The Only Sons hail from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and I have been following for them for a few years now after stumbling across their album "Steel Hearts" which is available as a free download here. Here is what I said about them when I wrote about them for a feature on "Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s The Only Sons’ latest album, Steel Hearts, is a must-have album for any fan of alt-country music. The thing that makes Steel Hearts such a special album is its relative simplicity. In an age where autotune is used left and right, The Only Sons brand of no-frills alt-country is a breath of fresh air. The album is filled with raspy vocals, excellent musicianship, simple yet emotionally engaging lyrics, and almost never loses the momentum built by the opening tracks 'Lay Back Down' and 'Wise Up'. " I still stand by that assessment, but the band has since improved drastically with the release of their new album "American Stranger" which you can stream on their bandcamp page. Easily one of the best albums of 2011 so far and "Gone Down Swinging" is a hell of a song with incredible solos at the end. This band is going to be huge.

Here is frontman Kent Goolsby performing "Just My Luck"

The Only Sons - Just My Luck (Acoustic Promo) from theonlysons on Vimeo.

Glossary - Another band from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I found out about this band in pretty much the same way, by downloading their album The Better Angels of Our Nature for free on their website. They have been around for awhile, having recently released their 6th full-length. They are more of a rock band, but they still have qualities of country music in their songs. Singer Joey Kneiser also produced The Only Sons American Stranger.

Glossary - Save Your Money for the Weekend from Stewart Copeland on Vimeo.

Are there any genres of music that you initially didn't like but learned to enjoy over time?


  1. Country is one of those genres that's a hit or miss for me. I wouldn't say I'm a country music fan but there are a few love songs I enjoy that they play on the radio during evenings at my home town stations. These songs are pretty good I'll admit. Guess I should learn to like the genre a little more too :-p

  2. It was always impossible for me not to like country. It's been ringing in my ears since I was born. My mother would clean the house on weekend morning to Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbitt, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Alabama. She took my sisters and I to see Alabama at the state fair when I was five. It was my first concert, and I still listen to them to this day. They are the original band for me. But I've also got a fond appreciation for Johnny Cash and George Jones too. I'm proud of it all actually. I think it makes a person way more musically well-rounded if you can appreciate more than just one or two genres. Kudos to you for being open enough to give it a listen and even more...admit that you like it.