I've been on a real country music kick lately. When I say "real," I don't mean in the literal sense, because all I've actually been listening to is Neko Case and Will Oldham, who are just hip country music singers for the young pretentious crowd. I'd love to get in to "real" country music, but its a scary prospect. I'm not talking about Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, and whoever else is big in West Virginia right now. I mean like the real godfathers, universally revered names like Merle Hagard, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, etc. Except something in me rebels against the thought of listening to real country music, a sort of knee-jerk reaction I suppose. As children, many of us learn to hate country music and look down our noses at those who like it. What's the usual line about people's tastes in music?: "I like everything except country and classical." What is this reactionary fear of country? Sure most of what you hear on the radio is mainstream, over-produced slop, seemingly targeted at a very specific audience. But then again, exactly the same thing can be said about modern R&B. Yeah, most of it is crap, but ever-so-often you'll get a 'Love In This Club,' 'I Can't Believe It,' anything by R. Kelly, etc. What I'm trying to say is that their is a pervasive anti-country music prejudice in the country, of which I am tragically a victim. One of my higher goals as a music listener is to always keep an open-mind about whatever I listen to, no matter who made it. A fool's mission, perhaps, but something to aspire to. Obviously, country music is case in point of my struggles. Hopefully I'll be able to triumph over my country-phobia, but until then, I'll be stuck with Phosphorescent, Palace, and that awesome country song by the Shins.
By the way, have you heard the new Neko joint? It kills.