Tales from the Water Cooler: Not quite the country for Taylor Swift

We Scots really know what country music is about - and it's not worth celebration

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The Independent Online

I’m loathe to quote Sister Sledge so early in a weekend, but we are family - i and The Independent. And because we strive for truth under the same fluttering colours, I feel bad saying this: there is a quote in today’s Radar magazine which borders on drivel. It came from that shimmering Nashville cash machine, Taylor Swift, who opined: “Country music is the place to find reality in music.”

Well, whatever she is peddling, Ms Swift knows her audience, because her brand of IKEA-styled banjo-pop has seen a waterfall of dollar bills into her piggy bank. But you’d struggle to class what she does as authentic. For that, it would need to get a bit more emotionally bruised. Like my cotton-pickin’ childhood. In Glasgow.

Scots have always delighted in Country’s default position of depthless melancholy. We do miserable, as you may have noticed, quite well. And this national willingness to marinate ourselves in Tennessee tears led my parents to feel it was perfectly okay for us to drive to a caravan park in Cornwall in a Fiat 126 (which is about the size of a bumble bee) with no radio and only two albums to listen to: The Best of Dolly Parton and The Essential Tammy Wynette.

Rather than put me off it for life, like a hostage falling for his captor, that 16-hour journey left me with a lifelong habit for songs about homeless dogs, Daddy’s gun and orphans walking in the footsteps of Jesus. And that’s no reality to celebrate, Taylor.