Hey people, don’t forget. Country music is the backbone to some of the most iconic music to ever exist.

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Imagine you’re in a room filled with 100 people. Your job is to to ask each one of them what type of music they’re really into. Some will agree, while others will obviously disagree — a fiasco that hopefully will not erupt into some huge wrestling match. Regardless, the majority of these 100 people will definitely agree (at least, when it comes to the likes of city lifers in NYC and L.A.) that country music is often not on the top of the list. Side Note: It’s not country’s fault so many pop/country songs about chicken and beer sell records these days, we only have most of middle America to thank about that… Anyways, what most haters seem to have already forgotten is that well-rooted country has influenced and inspired some of the most famous 20th Century musicians to ever live, like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis… Even better yet, they’ll be frightened to realize that country music still continues to influence some of today’s most famous musicians, like Jack White from the White Stripes. And we’re talking hipster juke box stuff, country music still today, resonates with artists of all genres.

We intend on proving to the country music naysayers that the genre has played, and continues to play, a crucial role in music, especially in the kind of music these naysayers are so into nowadays (*ahem Indie rock, another cringe-worthy term).

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From its earliest beginnings, country has held a tight connection to the blues, especially in terms of the chord structure, which made it accessible to musicians with a soft-spot for rhythm and blues, like the aforementioned Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Since Holly, Presley, Cash and Lewis all grew up in the South, they were raised in the tradition of country music, but never left the genre entirely…. They would go on in life to mix the world of country and R&B into what would later be known as rockabilly.

However, there would still be musicians, like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Jr., the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt, who would all cling to the twangy pedal steel guitar, fiddle and soulful tales of family, heartache, love and abandonment while also adding the edginess of electric guitar and bass. The extent of the twangy licks laced with electric jaggedness would reach even further with bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Kansas.

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” via ALLEN0955

And in continuation of proving to these typical country music naysayers that country is legit, Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” has been covered by pop artists left and right — between Whitney Houston, the cast of Glee and Miley Cyrus. Even Nashville, a TV show based on the lives of country singers who are working desperately to stay current despite many personal and professional controversies, is one of the hottest shows on TV at the moment. (And who doesn’t love Connie Britton?)

In 2004, Loretta Lynn released the album, Van Lear Rose, which reached 24 on the Billboard 200 and included Jack White as its producer. Jack White, who is very famously known for his strong connection to Rock music via his outrageously out-of-line guitar solos and freakishly-similar-to-Robert Plant’s-vocals, even wrote a track for the album, performed on its entirety and sang a duet with Loretta titled “Portland, Oregon.” So what do you all have to say for yourselves, haters on the old country music?

Loretta Lynn’s “Portland, Oregon” via BVMTV Outlaw Country

Country music is more than what wannabe music snobs people think — it’s not merely just about some sad cowboy who lost his way and his woman left for his best friend. It’s so difficult to defend something that people are often so against, but I think if people just look beyond the stereo-typical attitudes of what they believe country music to be, they would be surprised. Many people nowadays are close-minded about things, especially music, so sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone. When we do step out of it, we’re usually completely blown away by the results. And stop being mean to Taylor Swift. We think she’s awesome. 

It seems like everyone has a passionate opinion about something these days (thank you free access to blogging) and you’ll probably talk yourself blue in the face trying to convince someone into learning something new and different. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t… But I think we can all agree that, if we just put our musical prejudices aside, we can learn new things about ourselves and others. And yes, it can be through country music.

[Header image via blog.estately.com. Other images sourced via Tumblr.]

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