Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

March 19, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Bro-country, Walmart Country, and Authenticity

At her blog, L. M. Bernhardt has written a response to John Dyck’s recent post defending country music. In her post, “…but it’s all right.” she articulates something that worries her about Dyck’s presentation of country music as unsophisticated. There is an important difference between the music born from the life of farmers and miners and the music that deploys that life as a sign of authenticity for consumers who don’t necessarily live there anymore. She goes on to explain: it’s a major feature of contemporary bro-country, which tends to be an assembly-line-produced mess of redneck identity signifiers masquerading as “authentic” country music. A pop-country performer like Brad Paisley (who is good at his job — don’t get me wrong!) bears little to no resemblance to someone like Ralph Stanley or Hazel Dickens. He and his usual co-writers produce songs about country as an identity. Hazel Dickens wrote and sang from it, and I think that makes a big … Continue reading

March 6, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
3 Comments

In Defense Of Country Music

What follows is a guest post by John Dyck (CUNY Graduate Center) I used to hate country music. I would hear it at my grandparents’ house. I remember hearing my grandma sing along to those drawling voices and crunchy fiddles. My nine-year-old self cringed inside. The music was so gauche and uncultured. My grandparents grew up poor and uneducated, and I could hear it in their music.