The Soulful Roots Of Country Music
As I was growing up, Sunday mornings were a special time in our household as my Mother would awaken the family with country music while going about her early routine. As my Father was a truck driver, the play-list was heavily influenced by the current recordings of such artists as Dave Dudley and Johnny Cash. Country Music was the vehicle by which the working-class found expression and a common voice and, as the son of a truck-drivin' man, we were nothing if not working class. We could relate to our position in society through a commonality in music that expressed exactly who I was and where I came from. I could feel a sense of pride that I was the son of a working man who made an honest living through hard work and respect.
I could also feel the soulful blues that such a station in life brings to the table, whether through the delta musings of Hank Williams or the heartbreak of George Jones. I could honestly feel the alienation brought on by the events beyond my control and related to the country poets that could such feelings into words. With the ties to bluegrass and gospel, country music was the best way to tap into the sensibilities of Middle America. In other words, the music was a reflection of myself. I could relate to the blues and frustrations of growing up and experiencing the pains of impending adulthood.
Like other genres, country music keeps evolving to find an ever-changing base that will result in full houses and increasing record sales. I find myself drawn back to the simple truths espoused by artists some time ago. I guess the message never changes, just the method of delivery. I often ask myself, where is the America my Father knew, the Nation of Abraham, Martin, and John? That nation is still out there somewhere searching for a message that has been delivered time and again through paeans to honest folk that I grew up with many years ago. Why did Johnny Cash always wear black? For the oppressed and the downtrodden and those who never got a break. I have lived a life of "Sunday Morning Coming Down". Country music will always reflect who I am and where I came from.