The Ever-Changing Culture of Country Music

1031 Words5 Pages
The Ever-Changing Culture of Country Music Bruce Feiler, a native Southerner from Savannah, Georgia, is adamant about the significance of country music in the United States. He believes that the culture of country music has changed from its original foundation of "drinkin', cheatin' and truck drivin'" to a more conservative base that concentrates on the values of the powerful middle-class suburbanites (Feiler 430). By examining the culture of the stereotyped genre, Feiler observes the similarities and discrepancies between it and the general culture of the United States. He helps prove that not only has the culture of country music established values to which the American people can relate, but that mainstream America has adopted much of the culture that it once found so backward. Because of country music's humble beginnings in the farmland of the South, it has seen an unfair amount of criticism by non-listeners since its creation in the 1890s. The style began "out of an eclectic array of sources including Irish and Scottish string music, Mississippi blues and Christian hymns" (Feiler 424). Through country music, blacks and whites united in a rural, working-class bond that helped to push the music into the "1920s as one format for the newly emerging radio and phonograph markets" (Marks). Before that time, the creators of country hid their culture away in "the mountains of Appalachia, the fields of the South and the deserts of the cowboy West" (Feiler 422). As a result, the popular culture of the United States labeled the country music scene as an unacceptable outcast. Feiler quotes Lon Helton, country editor of the publication Radio and Records, as saying, "You had to convince people that country music didn't cause cancer. P... ... middle of paper ... ...s on "sex, drugs, and other forms of license" by offering morality in "tales of love, heartache, family ties and middle-aged renewal" (Feiler 426). So, whether the music has conformed to values of the people or the people have realized the need for country values in their lives, the result is the same: the country music culture has paralleled the changing culture of America, and that bond will now be difficult to break. Works Cited Feiler, Bruce. "Gone Country." The Presence of Others. Eds. Andrea Lunsford and John Ruszkiewicz. Boston: St. Martin's, 2000. 422-432. Marks, John. "Breaking a Color Line, Song by Song." U.S. News Online. 12 April 1999. . Zubiate, Michelle. "Country Music Blazes New Territory." Daily Bruin Online. 27 September 1999. .

More about The Ever-Changing Culture of Country Music

Open Document