Things are certainly squirrelly about music labels lately---the term you use to describe a style. The GRAMMYs® didn’t help matters much by redefining the Folk Category to be almost the same thing as the Americana Category, but then there are blurred lines between Folk, and Singer Songwriter, and Texas and Red Dirt, and it just goes on and on. So much of this is about perception, anyway, with each person filtering things through what they know, or how they got introduced to something. I reference the term ‘Rock and Roll’ for the definitive; that became understood by the songs and sounds that lived under its name until everyone KNEW what it was. And then Rock came along, and that was sonically different than the earlier era. And so it goes.
Time was that the term Country was something of a dirty word. It was thought to be low brow, nasal, and unsophisticated. Kind of amazes me now to think back, but when I was on the radio in the 70s at the Country station in New York City, WHN, we NEVER actually said we were country on the air. We just played the music and let the audience decide whether they liked it or not. And they did. The station was a huge success, with an audience of 2 million people, in NEW YORK CITY?!!!?
We might have played today’s song on the air, if only it had been out back then. It does plant a couple of references to tunes from old. And whatever you call it, it is fun to revisit the set we did last year during the Music Fog Marathon at Threadgill’s. Here is Citizen’s Band Radio with “Whistling Dixie.” They are playing New Jersey next weekend, March 11th, at the Garden State FOLK Festival. See what I mean?
- Jessie Scott