Crazy Heart(burn)

Jeff Bridges won the best actor Oscar for the lead role in Crazy Heart.  He portrays a washed-up, alcoholic, has-been country singer. 

A major theme in the movie is that his character Bad Blake had been one of the great country musicians in its heyday.  He taught a younger musician Tommy (played by Colin Farrell) everything about country music.  Now Tommy was playing arena concerts and wanted Bad to write some new songs for him.  Bad doesn't want to because he thinks that everything coming out of Nashville is shit.

I am so glad that an Oscar-winning movie understands what so many of us country music fans know.  Pop country music isn't real country music.

I blame Alabama.  The country music group, not the state.  They had tried to break into the Top 40 world of rock but couldn't.  So they switched genres and reinvented themselves as a country band.  Bingo! 

If you watched the CMA awards, most of the music has a Top 40 sound rather than a C&W sound.  C&W is what it used to be called when I was growing up.  Country and Western.  That's back when most country music had a down-and-out feel.  You just can't write good country music unless you know the loss and hard-knocks of life.

Whenever I tell people I'm a country music fan, they ask if I like the latest Carrie Underwood or Brooks and Dunn.  Who?  That's pop country.  I don't listen to pop country.  So I have to clarify.  I'm an outlaw country music fan.

I don't even attempt to ask how they like the album "Van Lear Rose" or the latest Johnny Cash, released several years after his death.  Do they even know that Loretta Lynn is still recording?  Or the legacy of the old-timers being carried on by a new generation that has lost favor with Nashville?  For those not in the know, that would be Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon) and III (Bocephus's son and Hank's grandson).

Do the pop country fans know who the Louvin Brothers were?  David Allan Coe?  The Delmore Brothers?

It's always heartening to see T Bone Burnett's name attached to anything.  He wrote some of the music for Crazy Heart as well as produced it.  But Hank III best sums up how a lot of us old-time country fans feel in his song "Dick in Dixie".

Well we're losing all the outlaws
that had to stand their ground
and they're being replaced by these kids
from a manufactured town
And they don't have no idea
about sorrow and woe
'Cause they're all just too damn busy
kissin' ass on Music Row

So I'm here to put the "dick" in Dixie
and the "cunt" back in country
'Cause the kind of country I hear nowdays
is a bunch of fuckin' shit to me
And they say that I'm ill-mannered
that I'm gonna self-destruct
But if you know what I'm thinkin'
you'll know that pop country really sucks

1 comment:

  1. Yes, you're right. The country music today is just pop rock - like I listened to in high school, but I like it. But I also like Country & Western too; some of those songs just can't be beat!