Up here in the United States, the nation that is central to the whole of the Earth, the word “country” has localized connotations. We don't regularly consider the presence of other "countries", we think in terms of endless interstate stretches among an impossibility of soybeans and corn, abstract quaintness among simple folk that doesn’t exactly exist if you live there, and most pointedly – America’s Music. Big cowboy hats. Trucks and boots. Pretty girls with honey voices. I believe it was all a creation of some sharp Nashville marketers to present this definition of “country” and thereby, a definition of “America” through it that casts its veneer over politics, lifestyle, religion, everything. I’m waiting for Barack Obama to pop up in a Stetson and quote Willie Nelson.
Some of us know better; we’ve interfaced with actual “country” within as well as countries without and understand the nuggets of Americana better by seeing them in the bigger picture, but it is difficult to maintain focus on that picture. Noted Americana champs No Depression are going through the last depressing production cycle as I write this, and one of the women it saw as worthy a representative, Tift Merritt, had to leave the country (both “country” and the United States) to find her voice anew. Read more...