A matter of definitionLet's not talk about the big Folsom show today, ok? We are almost there, one more long day today and we will have it all. Rather, let's talk about music.
So the other day, while we were slogging though another long day of Folsom prep, I decided to pop in the new (well not so new, it’s like a year old now) CD by Loretta Lynn. Up to this point we, Nerdy Griffin and I, had all been jamming along happily to the likes of the White Stripes. Now I figured since Jack White had produced this album, we could continue along this musical tangent a bit longer before returning to our normal diet of heavy metal and Bollywood pop.
Less than 30 seconds into the CD and Griffin is calling out, “What the hell are we listening to?”
“Loretta Lynn”, I shout back from behind the giant dye kettle I’m stirring.
“WTF?! I’m invoking the NO COUNTRY clause in my employment agreement!”
Now, he has a point. You see, part of his work agreement is that I’ll never play country in his presence and he will never mention that whole “long weekend in Tijuana and the donkey
Now I’m really not a fan of country music. In fact I hate it. I however did not consider this to actually be “country music”, rather I tried to explain that this was actually “Americana” music.
“Americana? Like that album by the Offspring? Trust me, she sounds nothing like Dexter Holland”
While I tried in vain to explain that, no this was not to be considered strictly as “country western” music. But rather this was music that drew from several genres and crossed over the cultural boundaries to become part of a greater cultural expression of the American working class. Artists like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan are great examples of this sort of music (also to some extent sub genres like Rockabilly, Swing and the Blues as well). When pressed for a concise rule of thumb by which one could determine if such music was in fact “Americana” and not “Country”. The best we could come up with was:“If you can enjoy it and NOT have to be wearing a cowboy hat at the time, then it is probably Americana.
Just as luck would have it, the next album chosen my i-pod? Iron Maiden. Then it was Nerdy who protested, “No, anything is better than Butt Rock!”
Now it was Griffin and I who had to argue that no, Maiden should be considered “Classic Metal” and not “Butt Rock”?
When pressed for a one line rule of thumb?
Monk: “If the lead singer ever played Dungeons and Dragons and you can hear the influence of it in the lyrics of the music, then it’s classic metal”
Griffin: “If the said metal band has become so big and so pretentious that they, at any time in their history, ever performed live with a full symphony. Then it’s classic metal”
I would later pose this question to Matisse
over dinner; her response I think is the most concise: “If I can walk into a strip club and hear the tune with in the first 20 minutes… then it is most definitely butt rock”