Friday, August 24, 2007

What is Country Rock? Who Makes It? Do You Listen to It?

alabama, charlie daniels, commander cody, creedence clearwater revival, the band.

These are a few bands that come to mind when I start to think of country/rock bands.

According to wikipedia:

"Country rock is a musical genre formed from the fusion of Rock with country music.
While such cross-pollination has occurred throughout the history of both genres, the term is usually used to refer to the wave of groups of the late 1960s and early 1970s who began to record country flavored records, including The Byrds, Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, The Band, Bob Dylan and The Buffalo Springfield. These musicians grew up listening to early country music on the radio in the 1950s, and were also influenced by the emergence of rock & roll in the 1960s. The term is also used for those who came after them, such as The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Poco, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Pure Prairie League, The Doobie Brothers and The Marshall Tucker Band as well as many musicians that they influenced, such as those in the alternative country movement."

Music from Big Pink

There is also a connection to Folk and Folk Rock that brings a rural feel to these musicians. It also brings that hippie sensibility too. Songs about what is wrong with our society and how we don't have to be cookie cutters of our parents and their hunt for the almighty dollar. The songs seems to have more to say about what we can do to make the world a more descent place. I suppose that really leans on hippie traditions but it seems to speak to me yet today about what I can do to be a better soul.

There seems to be an implied time period to this style of music that pretty much ends with the 1970's. I must say I am not as familiar with the genre any past that time period. I do not like contemporary country music as it seems very in-authentic to me. These young men and women with perfectly aged blue jeans, singing about corn pone and country roads never get off the interstate highways to experience life in rural Amerika. But that is another issue, I guess.

The country/rock that I listened to in my misspent youth still appeals today.

I find myself listening to the Eagles often, of course they are very L.A. country but I have always loved the way their voices blend and I still thrill at the sound of Joe Walsh's guitar.

I still listen to the Band and mourn their loss. I enjoy Crosby, Still, Nash and Young in all their guises. That close harmony really does me in-and-I like to sing along! When I first heard the Grateful Dead I thought they were awful as they didn't sing in tune, I thought! Well, that is a band that grew on me and I did see then 10 or 12 times and it really helped to see them live.

You can look back to the early 1960's and include people like Bob Dylan for one or two albums and the Rolling Stones for a couple of albums as well. They don't really appeal to me as much but the style is there I think.

One of my all time favorite albums of country rock is Will the Circle be Unbroken with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Roy Acuff, Merle Travis, Jimmy Martin, Junior Huskey, Norman Blake and Pete Oswald Kirby (known to Grand Ole Opry fans as Bashful Brother Oswald). Vassar Clements, a relative unknown, was tapped for fiddle duties, the exposure leading him to greater fame and success. The album featured classic bluegrass and old time country standards associated with A.P. Carter, Doc Watson and others. The title was adapted from the Carter Family song "Can the Circle Be Unbroken," reflecting how the band was trying to tie together two generations of musicians: the long-haired boys from California were making an effort to reach out to the older veterans of American music and unite them in a divided America. You could argue that this is straight bluegrass but I think there is a distinct connection between Country Rock and Bluegrass. I hear a fusion of styles going on that brings a lot to the stage. And again you have that close harmony that warms it all up!

Well, these are just a few ideas I had today about music...what do you think? Am I off base or do I hit it here? Tell me what YOU think? What are you listening to today?

Think I need to burn a Country Rock CD...

Talk to you later,



TM said...

Yee Hah! You certainly have chosen a subject to write about that is close to my heart, and ears!.... I don't listen to today's so called country music, either.......but this morning I heard a song I actually liked,,,Thought to myself.." self,,that band sure sounds like the Eagles".... and was the Eagles! 'How Long" is the name of the song.

I don't go for categories,,, I just know what I like when I hear it... country.....rock....whatever.. If there is a steel guitar it almost always appeals to me.

What about John Mellencamp? He's truly middle America...and country /rock....... tm

Lynda said...

Wikipedia says that John Mellencamp makes Roots Rock which is a sometimes vaguely-defined genre of Americana music that draws on early rock and roll, blues, country music, country rock, and/or other related forms.
He certainly fits the country rock mold in my opinion.

Annalee Blysse said...

I love country rock. The Eagles are probably my favorite band. I love their music.