Country Music USA was the name of one of the most popular shows in the Nashville theme park called Opryland. The opening speech in that show went something like this: Country Music began with honest melodies and old English Aires that filtered down from the Clinch Mountains of Virginia to the foothills of the Smokies. It soon mixed with an earthy kind of religion and created a back porch kind of music that was uniquely American.
This statement indicates that Country Music is an American music genre but at the same time incorporates playing the fiddle for example as it was performed in Ireland.
Country Music has always been known as a form of music that tells a story. Typically the musical arrangement that accompanies these stories is not as complex as classical music and with just a few chords a Country Music song can be composed. In my opinion it doesn’t matter what language the song is sung in. Others will argue it must be in English to be Country.
There is a genre called TEX-MEX which is Country Music sung in Spanish. Perhaps the best known example was recorded by Freddy Fender. I once saw a Japanese Bluegrass band perform a whole set made popular by Flatt and Scruggs. They sang the songs in English with a strong Japanese overtone.
Many American Country Music artists have recorded songs in German, Italian, Spanish, French and other languages as a tribute to those countries. Most of those recordings were met favorably but their English versions of the same songs were more successful.
I don’t think a Country music song has to be sung in English but I do think the English versions are more popular than any other language.
– Music City Ghost [File#2018]
The writer sits by the open window in his comfortable room,
his feet propped up on the sill.
He holds a yellow legal pad and a felt tipped pen.
This is what he writes:
“Twilight in the afternoon. Only two o’clock, but looking more like seven.
Cold front moving in.
“Big soft raindrops
slap down random leaves on the bush that leans against the window.
The tempo of the rain picks up.
Now the breeze turns to wind, and the trees thrash around.
It begins to rain on your feet.
Feeling rugged and outdoorsy. The feet stay!
“Suddenly, lightning, and then thunder! The feet come down.
Rain splotches appear on your writing paper,
and the blowing curtains drape over your head,
creating a Mona Lisa effect.
From somewhere across the lake, a train whistle.
A sound often described as “lonesome”, but more like “unrestful”…
A moving sound, a signal to the wanderer inside us.
“You turn on the lamp and security fills the room.
The sky and lake are a lighter gray now and you reopen the window.
The rain is letting up, mostly just the eaves dripping.
A squirrel checking out the wet garage roof.
The air smells different:
Washed vegetation, damp wood, supper cooking.
And it’s colder.
The feet return to the windowsill
in fuzzy socks from the bottom of the drawer.
“A storm is not bad from the inside, looking out.
You recall other dark days, in bleak, hopeless places.
You were alone, cold, and it was no fun.”
(That is all he puts on paper. His eyes close as he dozes off.)
The policeman says “Come on. You can’t sleep here”.
He’s lying on cement, covered with a large piece of cardboard.
He opens his eyes and sees the inside of a parking garage.
There are oil spots in the empty parking spaces. It’s chilly.
He says: “What the hell?”
The cop nudges him with his nightstick. “Come on, buddy. Let’s go.”
He struggles to his feet, aching all over.
“I gotta get home”, he says. “My wife’s cooking supper.”
The cop says “Uh-huh”.
Out on the pavement he tries to get his bearings.
The unfamiliar street is lined with old warehouses
and dirty brick buildings.
Some of the second story windows have old shades,
or shreds of curtain, as though somebody once lived there.
The sky is clouded over gray.
No telling what time it is. It looks like rain.
He picks a direction at random and starts walking,
collar turned up against the wind,
hands deep in his pockets in search of warmth.
A paper cup blows along the gutter.
He thinks about the dream he had before the cop woke him up.
Something about a warm house, and the smell of dinner cooking.
He feels for a wallet, knowing it wouldn’t be there.
There is some change in his pocket, and a half-smoked cigarette.
By long habit, he’s looking for the edge of the city,
so he can hitch a ride to a smaller town where help comes easier.
Big cities don’t care.
He’s almost across the city when the rain starts and the chill sets in.
He spends some of his change on coffee at a Burger King,
and is now entering the suburbs.
The storm comes up fast and he ducks into a doorway.
Lightning, and then thunder, almost at once. That was close!
Now he’s cold and wet. He’s not going to make it out of town tonight.
He’s got to find shelter!
He leaves the doorway and turns down a tree lined side street,
with a small lake on the left, and sturdy old houses on the right.
Lights are on in some of the windows. “It must be nice.”
Across the lake he sees some boathouses that might help him get dry.
This street probably winds right around there.
He sees a house that looks strangely familiar.
Maybe a look-alike from his forgotten past.
Now he notices the first person he’s really looked at all day.
There’s a guy in an open window with his feet up on the sill.
In this weather! He must be nuts!
It’s been raining on his feet, and he’s asleep!
The curtains have blown up around his head like a bandanna.
He turns and walks away, shaking his head at the stupidity,
On a day like this, if you have a window, you should close it.
Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan