The Ever-Changing Culture of Country Music
Bruce Feiler, a native Southerner from Savannah, Georgia, is adamant about the significance of country music in the United States. He believes that the culture of country music has changed from its original foundation of "drinkin', cheatin' and truck drivin'" to a more conservative base that concentrates on the values of the powerful middle-class suburbanites (Feiler 430). By examining the culture of the stereotyped genre, Feiler observes the similarities and discrepancies between it and the general culture of the United States. He helps prove that not only has the culture of country music established values to which the American people can relate, but that mainstream America has adopted much
…show more content…
In the 1930s, Gene Autry helped to bring the West to country by "becoming the first singing cowboy to win the hearts of the wide-open terrain from atop his loyal horse, Champion" (Zubiate). Then, in the 1940s, the stereotypical culture of country music developed. The blues influenced the lyrics of classic hillbilly songs by focusing "on alcohol, marital breakups, sin, and death" (Marks). Although the lyrical focus of the songs remained the same until the 1980s, the culture of country still changed as it moved closer to the tastes of the mainstream. Feiler describes this change by saying, "The 'Nashville Sound,' blending orchestrated pop with country-fied themes, provided a foundation for a new roster of crossover artists" (424). While the themes of country lingered for many decades, many older fans rebelled against the new sound that catered to the mainstream. They tried to revert to the sounds of "fiddles, banjos, pedal steel guitars, or mandolins" that helped to first create the sound of country (Marks). However, the need to appeal to a larger audience overcame these efforts, and, in the 1990s, even the themes of the music began to drift--instead of two-timing and truck driving, lyrics began to reflect the moral values of the American majority.
Through the sounds of the music and the look of the performers, country music has attracted the attention of mainstream