Growing up in Mississippi in the 90s, I always thought that country music meant the crap I heard on the radio. At the time all I heard was saccharine, over-produced pop with bad lyrics. It seemed cynically designed to turn a buck.
Sure the occasional great song survived the hit machine, like Sammy Kershaw's "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer", but for the most part I didn't think country music was a serious genre. Boy was I wrong.
It took a move to Nashville to open my eyes. I got to spend time in honky tonks like Robert's, where Brazilbilly makes sure he's always got a tight Western swing band on stage. I got to hear the world's best bluegrass session players gather at The Station Inn on Monday nights to play old standards and drink beer. Nashville taught me how, in the right hands, country be the most authentic music at our disposal. The simplicity and straightforwardness can be a scalpel that cuts right to our deepest emotions, delivered with a plainspoken poetry that grows organically from American experience.
Chalk it up to pure ignorance. Country music is one of the greatest art forms that this nation has produced. Just took me a while to figure that out.
Brazilbilly and Rosie Flores play Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" at the legendary Nashville Honky Tonk, Robert's Western World.