Friday, February 15, 2013

Redefining The Genre

Uncle Dave Macon
Let's face it, our society tends to prefer a narrow-ish definition of  country. (That is country as in "rural," not country as in "geo-political nation state.") I know very little about country music, but even with my limited exposure, I can name off a handful of tunes that give definition to the idea of what being country is and is not. (Redneck WomanShe's Gone Country, I Like Girls That Drink Beer) Somewhere along the line though, the genre clearly has stretched and changed. Par exemple: the gentleman pictured at left, unapologetically having a very nice time, would not easily be confused with the gentleman currently married to Nicole Kidman, also (presumably) having a very nice time. And yet each, in their day, gave definition to the idea of country. Patsy Cline gave us sequined evening gowns, full orchestras, and interesting hair. Tammy Wynette, June Carter Cash and Loretta Lynn gave us even better hair, and Dolly--well, you get it. Each followed the rules enough to earn a platform allowing them to break the rules a little. 

And then comes our girl Chely. She paid her dues. She followed the rules. And when it came to changing things up in Nashville, some folks were happy to show her the onramp to 65 North. I'm not sure who is in charge around there, but I hope they realize that Chely Wright has widened the definition of country just a little bit more, and it won't ever go back to where it was. A whole new crowd is tuning in to Nashville, bringing our own certain vibe. We're here, we're queer, and we are country too.