Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Bit of Authentic Music

"I went to Nashville to learn to write country music. When I finally learned how to write it, they stopped recording it."

                             ~ Pat Terry

I tend to take music in spells. A while back I was listening to jazz.  Before that I was into classical sacred music, then is was folk (it is often folk). We keep a radio on in the back of the house where our dogs are so they will have some stimulation when we are out of the house. We used to keep their radio on NPR, then my wife read some research demonstrating that dogs are most content with rock, so now we have the radio tuned to classic rock, which I've enjoyed when I'm at home with the dogs.

The music I am into now when I'm driving is country. That doesn't happen often but it does on occasion. I love the authentic music you hear on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band anthology albums and on blue grass recordings. What I've found this week is authentic music from Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash.  I began to get a taste for it again when I heard Pat Terry in a local concert at Moonlight on the Mountain. Then when browsing the record shop, I came across a CD of Emmylou Harris called Duets.  Emmylou Harris definitely does authentic music, and this recording is one I have enjoyed. It includes previously recorded material she has sung with other artists. One such song is "Green Pastures" in which a young Ricky Skaggs accompanied her from her pivotal album, Roses in the Snow. That album was the one where she firmly planted herself in the bluegrass tradition. Other memorable songs include, "Love Hurts," with Gram Parsons; "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again," with Roy Orbison and "Gulf Coast Highway," with Willie Nelson.

Listening to Emmylou Harris reminded me that I have been wanting to hear Rosanne Cash's The List.  I drove by the public library and found that CD to borrow. If you don't know, "the list" refers to a handwritten list from her father, Johnny Cash, of the 100 songs that she needed to know if she wanted to know anything about country music. Rosanne Cash mentions in the liner notes that at the time she was a teenager oriented mostly to the pop hits on the radio. Thankfully, she kept that list from her dad and recorded 12 of the songs from that list of 100. If you listen to The List you will hear some truly authentic country music – the kind that  Pat Terry half-jokingly says they stopped recording about the time he learned to write it. It's music that speaks to the heart and tells of the hardships and realities of life.

Here's a track off  The List to give you a sample of the music:

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