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Post new topic But is it Country? - Travelin' Soldier
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Author Topic:  But is it Country? - Travelin' Soldier
Tim Sheinman


From:
Brighton, UK
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 5:41 am    
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In May 2002, Toby Keith released 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (the Angry American)'. In response, Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks stated that the song was 'ignorant', igniting a very public feud with Keith.

In December, The Dixie Chicks released 'Travelin Soldier', a song that appeared to talk about the human cost of war, just as the invasion of Iraq had begun. On the promotional tour, Maines said that she was ashamed to be from the same state as President George W Bush.

Travelin' Soldier was the last Dixie Chicks to make the top 20. They went from being one of the biggest bands in America to barely being able to fill venues.

My question is, can an un-patriotic song also be country?
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Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 6:06 am    
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Hi Tim,

I think this topic belongs in the "Music" section, but I'll leave it at that and let the moderators do their thing.

"Country music" to me is easy to define - and it comes from a personal place. Even though I was raised by parents who liked to watch the old TNN tv station in the evening and heard a lot of it on the radio (Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, etc.), it only really clicked with me in my mid-twenties. I can tell you exactly what changed...

Most music involves escapism, glamour, heightened emotions, and so on. Country music generally doesn't. Country music involves looking life in the eye, accepting it for what it is, and mentally processing it. When people talk about how important 'authenticity' is to the genre, that's part of what they're talking about... not just cowboy hats and twangy accents.

So for me, country music only really started making sense once I had reached the point in our lives where we have to look beyond our ambitions and dreams and say, "well, I guess this is life." That's why country music that is written for teenagers and young adults often doesn't sound country, even if it has all the usual trappings of it.

My opinion on your question is that whether or not a song is patriotic has nothing to do with whether it's country. That said, unless a song is very strong artistically, its popularity depends on how much its audience relates to it... which is the question it sounds like you're trying to get at.
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Tim Sheinman


From:
Brighton, UK
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 6:51 am    
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Firstly in principle yes to the subject move if this is a real problem. However, no-one really reads or responds on the music section. My thoughts - what's the harm - these posts get good response.

Secondly, in my first post (Old Town Road), I asked if a track could still be country if it had sonic qualities that were out of place in modern country.

In this post, I'm asking whether a track is still country if it possesses political qualities that set it outside the norms of the genre.

I acknowledge this is largely a metaphysical question, which is not to everybody's tastes.

There seems little doubt to me that commercial country music culture (try saying that 10 times), is tightly bound up with traditional conservative American principles - family, property, ritual and...patriotism. Thus, can a song that presents an unpatriotic message be considered country - ergo, my question.
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Last edited by Tim Sheinman on 4 Jun 2019 6:54 am; edited 3 times in total
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 6:52 am     Re: But is it Country? - Travelin' Soldier
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Tim Sheinman wrote:
My question is, can an un-patriotic song also be country?

Well, it can be stylistically 'country music' but whether its message will appeal to the mass-market country-music audience is clearly a separate matter.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 9:39 am    
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Travelin' Soldier is in my opinion a fine country song. It was written by the excellent Texas singer/songwriter Bruce Robison. Bruce's brother Charlie Robison, a fine singer/songwriter himself was married at the time to Dixie Chick Emily Robison.

The main male character dies in the Viet Nam War. But if Bruce took a different angle on the story it could have been any conflict - The Civil War, Revolutionary War, etc. The fact that the song made Number 1 before Natalie made the comment that ignited the sh#t storm proves that it is a legitimate country song even though it doesn't contain jingoistic lyrics.

The chorus could work for any war:

"I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter says
A soldier's coming home"


It's not patriotic or unpatriotic. It's a story that has been told many times in the U.S. and the world over. A young man dies in a war and the girl back home is crushed.

We'll see how long this thread lasts before it implodes and b0b has to put the lock on it. Hopefully that doesn't happen.

I've never seen anyone "wear" a Scheerhorn resonator guitar better than Emily. She plays some fine dobro on the tune. Being a long-time dobro player myself I've had a minor obsession with her for many years now. My wife just rolls her eyes and accepts it. Winking



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Last edited by Mark Eaton on 4 Jun 2019 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tim Sheinman


From:
Brighton, UK
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 9:48 am    
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A fine point, well made!

Mark Eaton wrote:


We'll see how long this thread lasts before it implodes and b0b has to put the lock on it.



This is the only kind of post I want to be involved with!*


*This is a joke.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 9:53 am    
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Yeah Tim, you might have a tendency to stir up the pot a bit. Very Happy
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 10:14 am    
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What do you want? Tickle out political opinions? I know (and maybe you know too) that they are not allowed here. But you can have mine:
It's not patriotic at all to invade foreign countries cause chaos and leave the people in pain. It's unpatriotic in the highest order!
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Gary Lee Gimble


From:
Fredericksburg, VA.
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 10:49 am    
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Quote:
Tim Sheinman"

*This is a joke.


Then practice what you preach....but who's laughing?

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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 10:52 am    
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Quote:
Firstly in principle yes to the subject move if this is a real problem. However, no-one really reads or responds on the music section. My thoughts - what's the harm - these posts get good response.

There are several problems with (especially deliberately) posting a thread in the wrong section.

First, it gives people the wrong impression about what the topic is about. When I click on a topic in "Steel on the Web", I expect there to be content about steel guitar that I can listen to, view, read, etc., not emotionally-charged political content.

Second, it puts the thread in the wrong place for retrospective search and analysis.

Third, it's just wrong-headed to deliberately subvert the point of having sections.

On the topic itself - this topic is specifically about the relationship between politics and the culture of country music, and I believe will explode with probability very close to 1 if permitted to continue. I'm pretty confident that if I (and I suspect many others) state what I want to state, it will cause this to explode. I will refrain from doing this, but I'm also fairly confident that, in time, someone will if this is permitted to continue. If others can state their views, why not me or anybody else? That's the inherent problem with this type of topic.

This is not a "country music forum", nor is it a forum about politics or culture. The topic is steel guitar and music. I don't need or want to know the political opinions of other steel guitar players - we all have 'em, they are all over the map, but this is not the place to discuss them. It is divisive and akin to stirring a pot of nitroglycerin. This is why b0b, who has expressed many times that he wants to run this place with a minimum of rules, clearly made this rule and explained why he was making it:
Quote:
We have a diverse, world-wide membership. People join the Steel Guitar Forum to learn about steel guitar, discuss steel guitar music, and to meet other steel guitarists. Political discussions would divide our membership. They would alienate people from different countries and people with opposing political views. For that reason, political topics are not allowed on this forum.

IMO, it would be reasonable to talk about this song as a piece of music, but I think we should steer clear of its political implications. But even then, unless it has specific steel guitar content, it should be in the Music forum.
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Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 11:34 am    
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Dave Mudgett wrote:
IMO, it would be reasonable to talk about this song as a piece of music, but I think we should steer clear of its political implications. But even then, unless it has specific steel guitar content, it should be in the Music forum.


Agreed. If there's too little traffic there to give the discussion you want, then this question is better suited for a different online forum.
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, CA
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 1:01 pm    
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This is a political hot potato. We don't allow politics here.

First, I moved it from "Steel on the Web", where it clearly doesn't belong, then I closed it as being clearly against forum rules.

If you want to talk about politics, go to Facebook or Twitter. And before you troll again, read the rules.

Quote:
We have a diverse, world-wide membership. People join the Steel Guitar Forum to learn about steel guitar, discuss steel guitar music, and to meet other steel guitarists. Political discussions would divide our membership. They would alienate people from different countries and people with opposing political views. For that reason, political topics are not allowed on this forum.

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