Woody: Today's country music a pain

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My late pal Waylon Jennings said it best one morning when we were on the Carl P. Mayfield radio show and Carl P asked Waylon what he thought about a recent CMA awards program. 

"Far as I'm concerned, CMA stands for 'County My A..'" replied Waylon.

Of course ol' Waylon didn't say "A dot-dot."

That was over a decade ago, and it's even worse now than it was then. By worse, I mean the state of country music.

There's nothing country about it.

I recently watched an alleged country music awards show on TV - there seems to be one on every night; they might consider launching a Country Music Awards Show Channel that carries 24-hour awards ceremonies - and all I can say is thank goodness Hank and Lefty and Kitty and Tammy didn't live to see it.

At first I thought there had been a programming mix-up and a Lady GaGa concert had accidentally been inserted into the country music slot. It was all screech-and-squall, like a musical mutant from a 70's rock concert. 

The guys looked like they'd spent the night sleeping in Printer's Alley, and the girls wore outfits that at one time would have got them arrested if they'd walked down Lower Board to the Ryman dressed like that.

I didn't see a single rhinestone in the crowd.

At one point I thought I might have heard a steel guitar, but it may have just been an amp overload from all the molar-ratting electronics.

The "country music" show made some of the early Stones concerts look sedate and stuffy by comparison. 

I'm not criticizing the "new country" singers as artists, understand. It's just that I don't cotton to their particular brand of music. Ozzy Osbourne likewise may be a perfectly nice gentleman, but I don't care to watch him bite the head off a live bat in the name of musical entertainment. 

I don't know any of the "new country" performers, and most of the veterans I used to know have left the stage. Whisperin' Bill Anderson is about the only old-style country star still on the scene that I'm fairly well-acquainted with. I chat with Bobby Bare sometimes, mostly about bass fishing.

Others I used to hang around have either gone to that big Hootenanny in the Sky or, like Ricky Van Shelton and Mark Collie, quietly faded away.

Google up some vintage Anita Carter songs if you want to hear what real country music used to sound like.
My gripe about "new country" is not personal. If the performers want to cavort around on the stage looking like Keith Richards on a bender and writhing like Madonna on an ant hill, fine. And if they want to screech out something that sounds like a cat being spayed at a demolition derby, that's fine too.

Just don't call it country music. 

I'd almost forgotten what real country music sounds like until I discovered a program on the FamilyNet Channel one Saturday night. There are performers who look like actual country-music singers and who sing actual country music. 

They play guitars and fiddles and steel guitars, and sing lyrics that you can understand and make sense. Country music is not extinct, but you have to look hard to find it. 

Meanwhile, I share the sentiments of Waylon about what's being passed off nowadays as country music: Country music, my you-know-what.

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Larry Woody
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