Growing up a Texan and a rebel, I did everything I could to avoid the country music that dominated the airwaves and my friends’ tape decks. Occasionally, a country song would seep into my consciousness, but I fought it as hard as I could. In the end it was a losing battle. Years ago I finally threw in the towel and admitted to myself that I do like country music, some of it quite a lot. It’s still not the main type of music I listen to and I prefer classic old country to the newer stuff, but I’m open to it. I’ve worked it into the mix.
I also discovered something weird. Even though I never listen to country stations and stare blankly when country fans talk about their favorite singers, when I go to a bar with country music on the jukebox and get a pretty good buzz going, I not only like the songs, a lot of times I know the words. I remember years ago, sitting with a bunch of folks, all of us singing along to David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” at the top of our lungs & having the best time ever. “I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison…” Apparently the little drunk guy in my brain is always gonna be a country music fan whether I like it or not.
And on the subject of country music and alcohol… I saw Crazy Heart last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. The movie stars Jeff Bridges as a washed-up, drunk country singer trying to get his act together. He was very convincing as a drunk and a singer. Kinda reminded me of Waylon Jennings. And in fact, he did sing, very well. Turns out he sings for fun in his spare time and they did a real nice job writing songs that fit his range, which is rather deep.
I had a pretty good idea I would like it when I realized T Bone Burnett was one of the producers and had a hand in writing the songs. “The Weary Kind,” co-written with Stephen Bruton, was in fact nominated for an Oscar.
I’ll give this movie 4 stars out of 5. Great story, acting and music. Also Maggie Gyllenhaal is a serious hottie.
And btw, if you only know T Bone Burnett from his work on movie soundtracks and production for artists like Allison Kraus and Robert Plant, you should check out his solo work too. His 2006 album True False Identity is a classic. (And not country, but rootsy crunchy rock ‘n’ roll).