Justin Townes Earle: Midnight at the Movies (What happened to country?)

Earle's latest album.

Earle's latest album.

I recently listened to this album by Justin Townes Earle called ‘Midnight at the Movies’. Feel like this is exactly the type of music that I am into these days. This might just capture the essence of  ‘America’ without beating you over the head with references to baseball, chirping crickets, apple pie, route 66 etc. Thinkn’ that this is the type of music that should be played on country radio. This has to have appeal beyond the indie/alt-country loving, pitchfork reading, music blogging crowd. Earle seems like the type of bro who really studied up and did some serious research on classic American music. Music like this makes me wonder when and why country music became so bad? It wasn’t always this way. Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt and Willie Nelson were all legit.

Country music today seems ‘tweenish’. Like it’s made for the American Idol crowd. Wonderin’ if cowboys actually listen to this, or are they just embarrassed by it? Seems like authentic manly country bros would want songs about authentic manly country stuff,  like ranching, shotguns, whiskey, hard work and bbq.  I’m not sure popular country gets the job done.

Im not sure this ^^^^^ is a typical day for a country bro…Probably too much water skiing in jeans.

If ur a man u like meat. If ur a country man u like bbq^^^.

Anyways, I guess country isn’t good/hip today for a lot of reasons. One is probably that a lot of young people don’t really like the outdoors and therefore can’t relate. They just like bands with outdoorsy sounding names like, Fleet Foxes, Panda Bear, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, Department of Eagles, Woods, The Mountain Goats, The Dodos etc. However, country peeps do authentically wear plaid/flannel which is a plus.

Woods - 2009. The musical equivalent of a nature walk for someone in Williamsburg

One of my favorite songs on ‘Midnight at the Movies’  is this tune called ‘Black eyed Suzy’. This is definitely about an aging street walker, a.k.a. ‘a beat up ole ho’. The song is catchy, upbeat and has a bluegrass feel.  I think a lot of ole timey type bros would like it, despite its subject matter. Feel like that if this same song were a rap/hip-hop song most of these same people would say that this is what’s wrong with America today. You know, “A lack of morals and decency” or something. Not sure why it’s ok for people to say sexist things while being an ‘old skool country guy’, but completely unacceptable if you are a rapper/ r&b singer. I feel like a lot of people who would h8 on Eminem for writing those songs about killing his girlfriend, probably love and have no problem with Johnny Cash’s ‘Cocaine Blues’. Which is essentially about a husband doing some blow, killing his wife and then running from the law:

Early one mornin’ while makin’ the rounds
I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down
I went right home and I went to bed I stuck that lovin’ 44 beneath my head

Got up next mornin’ and I grabbed that gun took a shot of cocaine and away I run
Made a good run but I run too slow they overtook me down in Juarez Mexico

This song, ‘Whiskey in my Whiskey’ by the Felice Brothers is also about killing a girlfriend.  Seems chill enough.

Whiskey in My Whiskey – The Felice Brothers
Drinkin’ and woman killin’ = country music/lawsuit

Also, seems like country music may have a bit of a double standard. The whole industry went super crazy/became outraged at this one Dixie Chix tune called “Earle had to Die”. The song is about this woman eventually killing her drunk, d-bag, abusive husband named Earle. Seems like a much more legit reason for killin’ someone than snortin’ up some drugz.  I think that in any other form of media, besides country music, this type of thing would be applauded. The song would probably be blasted loudly at feminist type events, while being featured on womens programming like the Joy Behar show and Merideth Baxter Birney movies. Why is the country music industry still so sexist/behind on the times? Whats wrong with a broad standin’ up for herself?

F**K you Earle!

I think it’s possible that country held on to the crappy sexist/conservative part of its past while ditching what was actually good about its old school music. I think that this is why we are basically only left with right-wing (probably racist) d-bags like Toby Keith singin’ stooopid cheezy pop songs on country radio. I guess that I just thought Justin Townes Ealre’s cd was so great/authentic, that it got me h8n hardcore on the mainstream shizz that most people consider country music. I just think that sensible country folk need music as well. I hope maybe peeps like Justin Townes Earle, The Felice Brothers, Neko Case, Josh Ritter, Old Crow Medicine Show and the Avett Brothers can bring this music to them.

Have you ever listened to country music?
Where do you think country ‘went wrong’?
What would you most like to hit Toby Keith over the head with?
Are the Dixie Chicks ‘authentic’?

Midnight at the Movies – 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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Filed under Music, Rant, review

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