“C” is for Country

So why would I invoke the “C” word — Country — in a blog that celebrates pop music?

Well, as a singer / songwriter, I actually have a stronger allegiance to the craft of songwriting than to any particular genre. And even though there are styles that never get my full attention, I always keep a pre-set on the car radio reserved for the local country station.

Around the Bend

Randy Travis's CD: "Around the Bend"

It is my feeling that, off and on over the past many years (not always), country music has attracted the best songwriters, artists, and producers. During the 80s I was one of the faithful that embraced Randy Travis and his updated, traditionalist country charm. Garth, Alan, and George (Strait) might have experienced more meteoric success but — in a few more years — it’ll be Randy Travis’s unique song stylings that stand alongside Willie, George Jones, and Merle. Just my opinion.

And now, with his July 2008 release “Around the Bend” — Travis’s first secular country CD in almost a decade — his legacy grows even richer. Give it a try. You’ll hear a voice that people will be listening to for the next century.

My interests in country date back to the first album I ever bought — Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country Western Music, which included the industry-changing “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” He mixed genres, brought new audiences in, and basically blew everyone away. A generation of singers learned their chops, in altered forms, from this genius.

And when I get a hankering for a Country fix, who do I listen to? Lyle Lovett, Brad Paisley and all my old favorites. And now, good old Randy has given me a mid-summer gift. Wherever there’s a great tune, a soulful voice, and some lyrics worth listening to — I’ll be there.

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