(subtitled "What would have been an essay / If I'd cared a little more")
Hmm. This blog is getting dead, with little prospect at living again anytime soon, as I'm leaving in only two days. Hurrah! Excited I am, but nervous as well, to answer the question everyone has been asking me for the last week and a half. I'm excited.
So, I went and did it. I listened to some Johnny Cash. I did so deliberately, listening to the whole song and not just the first two lines. I tapped my foot with the beat. I liked it. Gasp.
Let me tell you why, though. It is because a great deal of Cash's music ( not all--no blanket statement being made here) represents what I really treasure about American country-genre music, and that is its grounding in the tradition of folk music which is being lost rapidly in the face of pop music today. Folk music tells a story, it's a ballad of one denomination or another, and I really love it. I like some current "country" hits because they, too, tell a story. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's sad.
Often, it's patriotic, which you don't find anywhere else in the music world anymore. Gone are the days of "God Bless America" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Gone are the days when anyone on the street could sing you the Marines' hymn, or Anchors Aweigh. Only in the select class of music now known as country will you find songs about America, Americans, and pride in being one.
So, country music is the last great stand of folk music. Music that tells a story, music that is proud of and lauds its heritage--instead of tearing it down and rebelling against it like popular and rock music does so often. And hence, as a classic (though maybe not the classiest) example of that folk-country offering, I give you Johnny Cash.
And I cannot for the life of me believe that I just wrote that.