October 7, 2019

‘TUNED TO WSM, NASHVILLE’/acrylic/gunther

By Arthur H. Gunther III

     Defining country music is like translating the ever-growing list of languages, including colorful, highly descriptive idioms, in this immigrant America. Listening to it, from the earliest 1920s radio programs through the metamorphosis that are today’s sounds on smart phones, is to hear a sound train’s lonesome wail and mighty rush on some of the tracks of our always-developing, changing history. 

    The roots of fiddle-playing/country-western/rockabilly/pop American music are gathered from many voices, especially African-American, Irish and Scottish settlers and Native Americans. Newer populations add lyrics written off hardship, love, loss and hope. 

     If ever a national candidate sought to win the hearts and minds of a full America, he/she would do well to listen to country music over the ages and then talk to those who have lived it, are living it, those whose hardscrabble lives have endured. It would do everything to dispel myths and prejudice in a land that sorely needs love. 

     The writer is a retired newspaperman.