Two Easy Country Music Questions
December 8, 2007 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Two easy country music questions: 1) What is the name of the genre/subgenre of country music playing in the background of this clip from a TV show? 2) What artists/albums are there of this type of country music?

Yes, I know this is batshit simple, but I've read descriptions of country subgenres (cowboy, honky-tonk, bluegrass, new country, etc.), and I can't mentally match the text descriptions with the music.

I'm not looking for country music that pushes any boundaries or opens up new territory, nor for originators. I was raised in Texas, but my family was from the north, so we didn't listen to country at home, and neither did any of my friends. However, you'd hear it occasionally in stores/bars/offices/whathaveyou. Now I live in Japan, and I've got some nostalgia going. I'd like to listen to some plain ole country of this style, like what I imagine one would hear on a random country station. So I'm looking for good but typical country music, not historically important or cutting edge stuff.

(I tried googling the few lyrics I could hear, but I didn't get a single hit, so I suspect the music was written specifically for the show to avoid royalty payment needs. Also, the TV show's closing credits don't mention the artist, nor do discussions online about the music in the show)
posted by Bugbread to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's "Streets of Baltimore" by Gram Parsons.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:22 PM on December 8, 2007


And here was a good AskMe about him and this genre.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:24 PM on December 8, 2007


It sounds like you might be happiest with current music described as 'hard country' or even classic country. Most of the new, contemporary stuff tends to be more pop than what you're likely remembering.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:01 PM on December 8, 2007


Is this TV show clip The Wire? Sorry, I can't help asking.
posted by chips ahoy at 2:05 PM on December 8, 2007


Yes, it's The Wire.
posted by jdroth at 2:08 PM on December 8, 2007


Cool, thanks, kuujjuarapik. So, to see if I'm parsing this right: it's an example of the Bakersfield sound, which is a subgenre of honky-tonk? And other artists would include Buck Owens and...Dwight Yoakum? Some Wikipedia says he played straight honky tonk, but another Wikipedia page said he played poppy country. Who else?
posted by Bugbread at 2:10 PM on December 8, 2007


Ah, sorry, missed some answers in the meantime.

So:

1) Genre = Bakersfield sound / honky-tonk / hard country / classic country
2) Artists = Gram Parsons, Buck Owens, possibly Dwight Yoakum...

(Oh, and, yes, it's the Wire, and yes, I'm thinking of the kind of country I heard back when I lived in the states, over a decade ago. Dunno what country sounds like now, but since this is a nostalgia thing, I'm not really interested in modern country, just that mid-80's/90's type stuff)
posted by Bugbread at 2:13 PM on December 8, 2007


It sounds like Dwight Yoakam is exactly what you're looking for. I hope someone else can give you more detailed suggestions, but I'd start with him. I don't think you would be disappointed.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:14 PM on December 8, 2007


Other words you might want to look for in descriptions would be neo-traditionalist or new traditionalist -- that was the dominant movement on radio in the 80s up into the early 90s when the 'Hot New Country' sound which mixed country with more pop-oriented influences became prominent.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:31 PM on December 8, 2007


Ok, guess I have the genre corner covered. Recommended artists, then, are Gram Parsons, Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakam, and anyone else?
posted by Bugbread at 3:38 PM on December 8, 2007


I wouldn't consider Gram Parsons "Bakersfield sound," though there are reasons why one would. If you like that, I think you'd like some of the Texas stuff - Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Flatlanders (of which JDG is a member) come to mind. Vaguely similar (and excellent) is Townes Van Zandy
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:40 PM on December 8, 2007


kuujjuarapik and Dee Xtrovert have it. I'll add Jerry Jeff Walker, Charlie Walker, and maybe Wayne Hancock
posted by nola at 3:53 PM on December 8, 2007


Not precisely what you want, but, since you enjoy country music and The Wire, maybe you should give Steve Earle a try.
posted by box at 4:56 PM on December 8, 2007


Dale Watson, though he might be a bit more honky-tonk than you're looking for. You might also like Guy Clark. Not that he sounds like Gram Parsons, but just cuz he makes good country music.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:44 PM on December 8, 2007


There's a Listen link on the upper left corner of the homepage for Lone Star 92.5 here in Dallas (previously posted). They play a lot of that kind of music, mixed with classic rock.
posted by Doohickie at 5:48 PM on December 8, 2007


Gram Parsons was also a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Good stuff! He is credited with being one of the originators of country rock. While he was with The Byrds they released arguably the first country rock record, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Gram's Nudie Suit is in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
posted by wsg at 9:52 PM on December 8, 2007


Nola: special thanks to you, because I had totally forgot about the potential of YouTube for checking out artists. I was thinking the only thing to do was hope that Amazon had some sound samples, or to yarr albums and then sort them out later. Now, with YouTube, I can check out all of y'all's recommendations on the fly.
posted by Bugbread at 4:18 AM on December 9, 2007


You certainly want to start with Sweetheart of the Rodeo after getting more Gram Parsons. He was central to that record.
posted by OmieWise at 2:44 PM on December 9, 2007


Very glad to be of help.
posted by nola at 9:11 PM on December 9, 2007


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