Punk Goes Country

They say that country is a genre that allows a musician to grow old with grace. The fans stay loyal and the road never ends. Maybe that's why so many punks start to twang it up when they start seeing the north side of 40. It's only right, as punk appropriated the direct, down-to-earthy lyrics and 1-4-5 major chord patterns of country, while picking up the pace and stripping away (at least in the early days of punk) all of the pickin' prowess.

However aging punks are often caught in a dilemma -- as they get older their musicianship improves, their interest in the same pedal-pushing tempo fades, their lyrical interest broadens and deepens with their increased life experiences, but they are trapped in a genre that for many years militantly resisted any of this... causing many punk icons to "cross the tracks" into country. All of this seems natural... moving back in time, exploring an even more primordial style of American music. That is, until you look at the contemporary "country" landscape... populated by John Rich (Love everybody... except liberals and gays), Kenny Chesney and a whole boatload of reality show fembots.

What's a country/punk to do?

Perhaps the rockabilly audience is the closest available for these acts... openminded folks who have an appreciation for "real" country and a working knowledge of punk. Maybe that's why Mike Herrera (best known for being the frontman of MxPx) is pitching his solo project, Tumbledown, as a rockabilly-inspired act, when, in fact, it sounds much more "alt country" or "roots rock" or "american" than "rockabilly". Still solidly enjoyable, though. It'll be fun to hear the album when it's done.


Country Dick
Jello Biafra


SoCalWendie said...

Hank Williams III