by Kevin John Coyne
October 17, 2010
Dear Country Music,
More fiddle and steel guitar, please.
Fiddle and steel guitar make country music sound better.
That’s all for today.
Category: Dear Country Music, Miscellaneous Musings
26 Comments so far
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- Ben Foster
[Adding my name to the petition]
PS: Please allow more intellegent music from females be played. :))
Zack (The person who agrees with Kevin’s letter)
I could not agree more on this topic!
I so miss the Dixie Chicks, they were the real deal in playing those instruments
That is why we need to get behind the new-traditional mainstream artists like Josh Turner, Easton Corbin, Joe Nichols, Sunny Sweeney, Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and the others that are out there. We need to elevate these artists with our interest and our money to the top to show Music Row what we really want out of an artists, out of a song and the sound we want out of our music. When Easton Corbin starts outselling Keith Urban, we’ll start to have are day as fans of country music; download, buy, attend, make it happen!
Just remember when that sun is high in that Texas sky to be buckin’ at the county fair or music row to show the suits what it is you want to listen to! You can in-fact support those artists too without the sun being high out in the Texas sky.
I would side with this, but with one big caveat–if the songwriting quality isn’t there, just simply having fiddle and steel guitar isn’t going to make it any better (IMO).
I should also add that I’m not so much advocating for more traditional country music as I am the more consistent use of traditional country music instrumentation.
I don’t want Keith Urban to change his sound so it’s more like Jamey Johnson or anything, but I’d like to hear some real country music instruments on his newer stuff the way it used to be on his earlier work.
Steel guitar is a lead instrument, not mere background shading. I loved the fiddle and steel pairings often found in western swing and in 50s-60s honky tonk music, and in some of the MGM recordings of Mel TIllis and the 70s recordings of Faron Young.
Of the two, the steel guitar is the more essential. Ernest Tubb rarely had a fiddle in his band, and Hag and Buck Owens pulled it out only occasionally
I love the Steel, and couldn’t agree with you more. I wonder if there is a cd out there with just the steel guitar and no other instruments…???
Kevin, I’m with you about Keith Urban, but afraid it’s not going to happen. Me and some other Urban fans were having that same discussion on another site this morning. We want him back like he was on Golden Road, The Ranch, Be Here! We’re glad he’s happy and loves his wife, but we are tired of hearing songs about her or his love for her. 1 or 2 is ok, but not a whole album. Put a little bad boy back in your songs Keith…you don’t have to mean it, just sing it!!
I’m torn. On the one hand, I absolutely adore the sound of fiddle & steel. It’s the auditory equivalent of comfort food.
On the other hand, Waylon rarely had a fiddle on his recordings and Cash used neither. I think Kevin acknowledged this point in his remarks about Keith Urban; there’s plenty of room for individuality under the “country” umbrella, but it would certainly be nice to find more of an organic aesthetic. I think this is why Dierks Bentley’s “Up on the Ridge” and Joey + Rory’s “Album Number Two” have resonated so strongly with me this year.
I’m fine with the steel guitar and fiddles as long as the songwriting is good as Erik mentioned and the singing. There are some artists I can’t bear to listen to and I know that there are those who can’t stand singers that I like. Just saw a comment on Roughstock by someone who hates Sugarland.
I’m not a big fan of bluegrass but I like to hear a banjo now and then. One of my favorite story songs ever, “Matthew”, features a banjo. It was solely written by John Denver and, to my knowledge, no one else has ever recorded it.
If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band. That lead guitar is hot, but not for “Louisiana Man.” So rosin up that bow for “Faded Love” and let’s all dance. If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band.
=) Sorry, but it had to be done. I love Alabama. Now there was some good music!
I usually prefer my country music on the pop-country side so I would prefer less steel. The thing is I like country but if i say anything to my friends they make fun of me.They think country is for rednecks like Gretchen Wilson and Craig Morgan. Country is for people my friends look down on. But they do like some of the poppier stuff and I can share my enjoyment of that with them. I kinda wish all the hard core country got banned and shoved off to satellite radio or some place and the more socially acceptable stuff was all that the radio played. Then I could turn on a country station when friends come to my house without being mocked.
I can’t do that now. If I turn on the radio and friends are over and “Redneck Yacht Club” or “Trailerhood” or some bible thumping song “Me and God” or “Jesus Take The Wheel” comes on I’m gonna get made fun of. I like country but I like my social life more. Ditch the steel guitar. Ditch the rednecks and the Jesus. Please!
Please stop posting under different names. Your IP address leads to four different names within our comment history so far. Choose a name and stick to it or we’ll have to treat your comments as spam in the future. This is not the first time that we’ve made this request.
@ Bob re. John Denver:
And to think the country music establishment of the mid-70s gave the man such a hard time. Not only “Matthew”, but a lot of the album it’s from, BACK HOME AGAIN, had plenty of country instrumentation on it–okay, no steel guitars, but a fair amount fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and Dobro.
Like I said, if the songwriting and vocals are there, then steel guitars and fiddle are perfectly fine. And also, it helps if they are there in service of the song and not a blatant attempt to push across an “I Am ‘Country’” message.
Really M.R.? Are you being serious? With that kind of attitude I hope you never listen to country music again. Country music is for a lot of different types of people but not for people like you!
…more fiddle and steel again in country music. sounds good to me.
I kinda wish all the hard core country got banned and shoved off to satellite radio or some place and the more socially acceptable stuff was all that the radio played.
Didn’t that already happen years ago?
If you want to hear some fiddle and steel, give a listen to “There’s a Song in There Somewhere” from Victoria Shaw’s 2008 cd “Bring On the Love”. The first verse begins “I’ve got the broken heart, I’ve got the empty bed, … the tear stained pillow …” and concludes “the only thing missing is the steel guitar”. The song, written by Shaw and Gary Burr, has the steel and the fiddle. The chorus begins with the song title and continues “isn’t that what they say, between the saddest of goodbyes and cheap wine, tonight I’m a walking cliche”. It concludes “there’s a song in there somewhere, maybe I’ll write it someday”.
Incidentally, I’ve always thought it strange that a “Louisiana man” would tell Alabama how to play their music in Texas.
I love fiddle and steel guitar. I def. wish they were used a lot more frequently, as I prefer those instruments to electric guitar and other pop-leaning sounds.
Its not like they can’t do it, either… look how big “White Liar” was, and that’s like all about the steel guitar.
I grew up with mike johnson. Mike is the greastest steel player of all times, he will replace Buddy Emmons.
No offense to either Mike Johnson or Buddy Emmons, but I’m partial to Ralph Mooney on steel. His was the foot that made Merle Haggard a star, after all. ;)
Ralph Mooney, Lloyd Green, John Hughey, Weldon Myrick and Tom Brumley are all viable candidates for #1 Steel Player as well
And not just inside the country music genre; each of them has worked beyond that field. It may not sound like it, but that’s Weldon Myrick’s steel work on Linda Ronstadt’s 1970 hit “Long Long Time.”
Lloyd Green played on the Byrds’ 1968 album Sweetheart Of The Rodeo; John Hughey played on Elvis’ 1969 version of “I’m Movin’ On”; and Tom Brumley, aside from being a pivotal member of Buck Owens’ Buckaroos, played on Rick Nelson’s seminal 1972 hit “Garden Party.”
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