Letter: A form of music that shows life as it is lived

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The Independent Online
Sir: Jaci Stephen seeks to typify country music as a welter of sad and maudlin songs with few redeeming features. That the vast majority of songs are about love, unrequited love and lost love might be true, but that is so in all forms of popular music, including opera. Opera, in particular, is a plethora of sad songs with only a few 'real swingers'. Such music reflects the experience of the listeners, and enthusiasm for it is deeply rooted in psychological developmental processes.

Johnny Cash once described country music as being songs about 'Cheatin' and lyin', hurtin' and cryin', and mud and blood and beer'. While that could once have been a description of country and western music (a slightly different genre to country music), it is no longer an apt description of 'New Country', the 1990s version of country and western.

Far from being maudlin mush, country music now has a social and political edge, often with a tinge of humour. Ms Stephen should listen to Travis Tritt's 'Working Man' (about the lot of the un-unionised worker), Garth Brooks' 'And the Thunder Rolled' (about spouse abuse), or for a bit of a laugh, Joe Diffie's 'Third Rock from the Sun', which might, if anyone were so inclined, be described as a jokey existential examination of the nature of causality]

Yours sincerely,




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