The Authenticity of Modern Country Music

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The Authenticity of Modern Country Music

By | Jan. 2011
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Imagine a warm, breezy afternoon deep in the heart of Dixieland. Picture an old farmhouse nestled peacefully in the woods beside a clear, sparkling creek. A rocking chair rests lazily on the back porch with a floppy-eared Bassett hound at its feet. On the table beside it is a glass of cool, refreshing lemonade and a radio tuned in to the local country station. You stop to listen….. I was born country and that’s what I’ll always be, like the rivers and the woodlands wild and free.

I’ve got a hundred years of down-home running through my blood. I was born country and this country’s what I love (Born 1). Ahh….you close your eyes and let Alabama take you back. But then Jack Ingram comes on with “Lips of an Angel” and jolts you out of your reverie. You listen to the beat of the drums and screech of the steel guitar. You think to yourself that it sounds more like rock than country, and perhaps you’re right. It is true that modern country music has adopted many characteristics of other music varieties. But while some contemporary music has branched out into other genres, a good deal of it has kept all the twang and texture of what some people consider to be real country. The country music of today has not abandoned the authenticity of the country music of yesteryear; rather it has expanded the entire genre allowing for greater variation and more popularity. Country music originated from the folk songs and ballads of European settlers (Country 669). While Americans shunned the love themes of their songs, they kept the styles the same. They preferred to sing of practical scenarios and real-life stories. These folk songs became known as “hillbilly” music in the plains and “mountain” music in the Appalachians, and existed for decades in America before their commercialization and eventual development into country music as we know it. The man credited with cutting the first country music record was named Alexander Campbell...