This post is something I’d been considering for the past week, and the home page of Gentlemen Hall gave me a link that pushed me to do it.
So I’m not a big fan of country music. I grew up in the middle of some cornfields and I legitimately went to a school that had a drive-your-tractor-to-school day every year. Personally, I think I was destined to live in a big city, as I have been for the past four years, and growing up in the middle of nowhere drove me crazy.
Ninety percent of those kids, you could ask what their favorite kind of music was and they’d all promptly answer, country and rap. My father raised me right on The Beatles, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Not to mention that as I grew up, he was my partner in musical inspiration. He introduced me to most of my music then, Blink 182, The Offspring, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The White Stripes and Weezer all started in my musical repertoire with my father’s discovery of them. (I distinctly remember him painting my room pink and listening to Blink’s “Happy Holidays, You Bastard” for the first time. I was twelve. We listened in shock and astonishment, and then played it again.)
Since then, the tables have turned and I bring him new music, which seems very fitting to me. My mom also added a little ABBA, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. So you can see they’re pretty awesome, and everyday I wish they hadn’t gotten rid of their record collection.
But the point is, that high school dances were torture for me because all I wanted was the old and inappropriate. I’ve come to embrace a degree of rap and R&B, as I discussed in my The Weeknd post, but I’ve still never come to terms with country. I can stand Brad Paisley because he is a brilliant guitar player, and I love Blake Shelton because of The Voice, but not his music.
But something about this rather country-tinted song to this day makes me so happy.
Perhaps it is the killer harmonies, perhaps I love it because that fiddle makes me feel like it’s more bluegrass, which is something Alison Krauss made me respect. But mostly I think that song reminds me of O Brother Where Art Thou, a movie I LOVE. I love most things that the Coen Brothers make, but O Brother Where Art Thou is nearly my favorite, in a close second to The Big Lebowski that can literally make me cry with laughter. Let’s be real, it’s hard to beat The Dude. But the music in this movie, which features Alison Krauss and some of her band mates from Union Station more than once, and is set to the plot of the Odyssey, very nearly does it for a music/lit junkie like myself. There is something so ethereal to bluegrass music sometimes, with its harmonies and clarity, as it is in this scene:
And this scene, my particular favorite (the song ends pretty early in this clip, but this is also my father’s favorite part too for what follows, they turned Pete into a toad! if you’re interested):
It’s hard to be a woman and not think the sirens are pretty awesome. Then, the most famous song of the movie:
I wish that was really George Clooney’s voice.. Now if you have never seen the movie, the soundtrack is great, and you should really watch it. Now my problem has been I wanted to do this post, but if you’ve seen the movie, it’s pretty boring at this point. Until Gentlemen Hall’s website gave me the link to this glorious little video to bring you full circle, a very unique use of “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow.”
He has a sort of country twang while rapping that is really different and fabulous. And just think, I’ve given you country and rap I like in this post, how happy all my old classmates would be. If you like that song, you can download it from them for FREE here.