I never saw this coming. I never in a million years would have ever thought I would find myself listening to country music of any form, but somehow it happened and I love it. I’m not into modern country music, but some of the more of the old “outlaw” country musicians. You see, I grew up hearing country music blaring from my friend’s parents stereo. They would party just about every weekend and they had an old stereo with a record player and an 8 track, both of which they used. Now you are probably thinking that I’m a really old fart, like Rob (j/k, Rob). On the contrary, he’s got a few years on me and records and 8 tracks were merely still around during my childhood. I really didn’t remember much of the sounds I heard coming from that stereo at my friends place until recently when I started to discover and really enjoy some particular country music legends such as Hank Williams Jr, Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, Kris Kristofferson, Charlie Daniels and Johnny Cash. I’ve been listening to Johnny Cash for awhile now, but never saw myself going beyond that. Johnny has always been one of those outlaw, outcast country musicians, but the others were right on his tail. As I’ve said before, you have to open you mind to other genres of music in order to appreciate music as a whole. You can’t limit yourself. You’ve got to broaden your mind and accept music and enjoy the sound, the passion, and the pure talent of the artists that perhaps made the genre you love what it is today. The blues and country, not to mention classical music have made heavy metal what it is today. I’m not saying that country music had a huge impact on metal, but the attitude, the reality of it all has had its own impact on musicians that we have come to adore through the years. Our roots as listeners make the ultimate impact on the people that we become and maybe, just maybe, the music that I heard coming from my friend’s parent’s stereo somehow had an influence on the music that I love today…somehow.
Hank Williams Jr had a legacy to carry on. Hank III strays far from the pack and mixes his hillbilly roots with a punk and metal vibe. It’s a strange mix, but he makes it work. Hank Williams Jr changed his style that made him somewhat of an outcast from his father’s legacy as a traditional country musician. Hank Jr. sang about smoking, drinking, cheatin’, and being an outlaw of sorts and pretty much got him disowned by many traditional country musicians. How dare he break the mold and stray from the path. He sang about what was real in his life and not exactly what people expected to hear from the son of the legend, which ultimately made him what he is today. You can hear that in the next two songs; however, you can also hear how he matured in his later work in the third video.
Charlie Daniels was a redneck hippie kindasortamaybeinaway. He was and still is a country legend that sang about being a redneck in modern times of war (during the Vietnam era) that didn’t abide by the rules that your typical redneck, southern boy should be singing about. He’s best known for “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, but perhaps he’s best known by his fans as a fun-loving long-haired country boy that doesn’t quite fit the southern mold of yesterday. This is quite obvious in these two songs.
David Allan Coe is known by a lot of people to be racist due mainly to his use of the word “nigger” in some of his songs. I don’t know the entire back story on that, but regardless David Allan Coe is a talented musician that wrote some memorable songs in his time such as the infamous “Take This Job and Shove it” and “You Never Called Me By Name”. Two of my favorite songs by Coe is “The Ride” and “Would you lay With Me”. Let us not forget the collaboration Coe did with Dimebag and Vinnie on Rebel Meets Rebel.
Willie Nelson is probably best know by most people these days as either a stoner country musician or Uncle Jessie from the Dukes of Hazard movie from 2005. Willie, aside from being many things other than a simply exquisite country musician is just that, an exquisite country musician. Perhaps best known as the singer of “On the Road Again”, Willie has some very beautiful songs, to include the following song, “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground”.
Kris Kristofferson is perhaps best known these days as the old guy from the Blade Trilogy. Before his Hollywood days he was a country singer. he has covered a lot of better known songs such as “Me And bobby McGee” and “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down”, but he also wrote the hit song “Help me Make it Through The Night”, all of which are great songs, but Kriss is a gifted musician and singer.
One of the my favorite(ist) country musicians, even in his monochrome recordings is Johnny Cash. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Walk The Line”, then you’ve known the struggles of Johnny Cash. I’m sure some of it was glamorized for Hollywood, but for the most part it portrayed a young Johnny Cash as he struggled with addiction, infidelity and his career. Some more modern recordings that Johnny Cash did before his untimely death in 2003 made for some great covers to more modern artists such as Tom Petty, U2, Soundgarder, Sheryl Crow and NIN, not to mention some traditional country musicians. To avoid mentioning the ones that get so much play, I feel it necessary to post the next two songs from the first American Recording session from 1994. One by traditional country musician Jimmy Driftwood and one originally written by Johnny Cash. Though Tennessee Stud is a great tune, I really enjoy the song he sung as written by Glenn Danzig, “Thirteen”, as you can hear below. Though those are just a couple of great tunes as sung by Johnny Cash, I enjoy the most a song he wrote that tells the story of a Vietnam war vet.
Lastly, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristopherson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash collaborated as the Highwaymen to make an album that is simply amazing all the way through. The title song is very touching as much as a song can tell a story. I don’t really have words to describe this song, so I’ll let the song tell the story.
All I am saying here is to not limit yourself to only metal. Sure, metal to some may be the only genre of music there is in their life, but as you grow older you mature. With maturity comes appreciation for good music. I don’t care for any of the modern country music, but the musicians that I have mentioned where all open minded enough to understand the potential of music and the evolution that it brings, even if it does evolve into something that they may not necessarily listen to and enjoy. You can have your own opinion on other genres, but appreciate everything that those genres bring to the table, even if the lyrical content promotes something that you don’t really agree with. You can hate the trends, but they die off. Truly good music will persevere and become timesless. Learn, live and love through music. It’s one of the few things in this life worth living for.
Oh, and on a side note, you’ll never catch me in a fucking cowboy hat or boots like some jack-off Kmart Kowboy.