22 July 2008

Dipping my toe into the shallow end of Country

I have been too busy today to think any deep thoughts about music. I finished off the other program I was developing, just a simple mix. I listened to ACRES, Screaming Trees, The Hint, and Shostakovich's String Quartet #8 again (still brutal).

I did do some shallow thinking about music. Both of the people who commissioned the programs (through the auction I posted about) specified "No metal and no country". What is it about country music that makes people twitch so? I am starting to think it is like eating horse meat—we don't do it because we don't do it. "Country" is so diverse that I can't imagine someone who listens with an open mind not finding anything at all to like. I always struggle with labels, but anyone should be able to tell that Brad Paisley and Keith Urban are doing different kinds of stuff. Now my mind is starting to spin off toward deep stuff about tropes and subculture markers and all, so it's time to set it aside to marinate for a while. First I have to think about what "Country" is.

That does remind me to point you all to something good. A friend of mine suggested I get some Keith Urban albums, so I did and I have been enjoying them a lot. If you like rock and the sound of a steel guitar doesn't give you hives, you should listen to some of his songs with an open mind. There is one song on the most recent album that just tore me up because it hit so many notes from my own life. I mean, gut-ripping fall down shattered me. I hope none of you have cause for that strong a reaction. It's brilliant though:

The songwriter, Sarah Buxton, has a version on her MySpace that is okay, but it seems a little sweetened up. I found a much rawer and better live performance on YouTube.

And in unrelated news: my next-door neighbors have moved out and the apartment is still empty, so I can play my accordion whenever I want to! That crosses one thing off the list of excuses, anyway. Summer is hard, because it's not like you can take an accordion to the beach or pool or skating. Or you could, but it would be hard on the accordion because the wax holding the reeds would soften, plus the reeds don't like moisture. And my cat ate my sheet music. Against all good sense (considering the kinds of music I like best), I love to play my squeezebox, though.

And so, off to play some exercises. Kids, see—adults don't just tell you to practice to make you suffer. We do it, too, so we can play better.

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