|Bring Back The Twang'
written by Lane Hudson
|Most of today's country music leaves me flat as a three-day old Pabst
Country music singers today are too young, too beautiful, and too
rich to have enough heartaches to understand, much less sing real
country music. Sure, I know that Hank Williams was only 28 when he
died, but he had enough heartaches for several lifetimes. But those
Brittney Spears wannabes, like Shania Twain, and all those "hunks
in hats" are going after the stardom without living the heartaches.
Willie Nelson calls them "flat bellies" - because they haven't sat on
their bar stools long enough and cried in their beers long enough.
Sure their pop country music is pretty to listen to, but the unspoken
raw truth that the soul can only hear in the spaces between the
words and notes is missing.
A country music announcer explained the difference between rock
and roll and real country music this way: " Rock and roll is about love
to be, and country music, real country music, is about love that was.
And if you ain't lived the pain," he told me, "you can't sing about it."
The pretty faces of today’s stars lack the wrinkles and bloodshot
eyes to know the hurt of living.
So why are today’s young people buying the young country
"Only the sincere can recognize the sincere," goes a proverb.
Maybe this is why young country music fans buy the new country;
they are too young to know real heartache, and so they don't know
what's missing in the new country music. But now Paycheck,
Haggard, and Rich knew, and they sang from a place where the heart
of real country resides.
I remember hearing in 1963, "Talk Back Trembling Lips," by Ernie
Ashworth. Blaring late into the night, filtered by the tall pines, the
tinny outside speakers at Seago’s drive-in diner across the road from
my house was my nighttime serenade.. At 10 however, I was too
young to understand the depth of pain behind Ashworth’s high
voice. But it always elicited a comment from my mother who would
say, "Some lonely soul has dropped another dime into that jukebox"
and then she'd settle into our wooden porch swing and drift away to
some place she never told me about.
I believe true country music fans know something very important
about life. Something reflected in what a bartender once told me: “It
ain’t no use in taking life seriously, because you ain’t gonna get out of
it alive anyway!”
Because country music fans know this, we even poke fun at
ourselves. Take David Allan Coe's classic "The Perfect Country
Western Song"..."I was drunk the day my mama got out of prison,
and I went to pick her up in the rain, but before I could get her in the
pickup truck, she got runned over by a damned old train." Now,
that's a song to sing out loud with a chorus of fellow beer bellies and
true country fans.
However, once in a while, a new country singer does gets it right.
Take the chorus of Tim McGraw’s tribute to his deceased father Tug
-- “Live like you were dying…”
McGraw has nailed this one. Why? Because we are.