You’re the best ever, A.V. Club.
Category Archives: Video of the Day
The music video format has been around so long that most modern country artists began their career with one. Even some of the veterans from the era before music video now have decades of clips to their credit.
I thought it would be fun to compare the first clip of an artist to their most recent, since it lends itself so well to embedded video in the comments.
First up: Dolly Parton.
She released her first music video in the late seventies, accompanying her cover of The Beatles classic “Help!” in 1979:
Thirty years later, her most recent clip is for her current single “Backwoods Barbie.” I'd argue it's her strongest music video ever, by quite a wide margin:
Dolly Parton's video career spans thirty years. Alan Jackson's spans twenty years. His first video was released in 1989, for “Blue Blooded Woman.” It preceded his breakthrough hit “Here in the Real World.” I imagine if the singles were released in a different order, this could have been a big hit:
His most recent clip, “Sissy's Song” shows how much he's grown as an artist.
I think the first Pam Tillis video, “Killer Comfort”, is beyond description. It was the lead single from her 1983 pop album Above & Beyond
the Doll of Cutey
the Doll of Cutey, which receives its first CD release on June 9:
24 years later, she was still wandering around downtown, but this time she was singing about the “Band in the Window”:
Share your favorite pair of then & now country videos in the comments. You can embed videos in two ways:
From YouTube, just copy and paste the YouTube address, adding a v after http (httpv://).
From CMT.com, copy the embed code under your video of choice, and paste it into the comment box. You can search for videos on the CMT site here.
You can use the preview function to make sure it looks right.
Sort of how I’m feeling about html and css right now.
I caught the new Carrie Underwood video last night for the first time, following a link at CMT. I couldn’t shake the smile off of my face while watching it. She shows so much personality and charm in this clip, almost like she’s comfortable in front of the camera for the first time.
As a fan from her Idol days, I know that her voice has always outpaced her stage presence. Honestly, when you sing that well, you don’t need to develop your charisma as quickly. But it’s nice to see that she’s developing the confidence needed to loosen up a bit.
I think Underwood was getting a bad rap their for a while as being stuck-up or stand-offish, when it always seemed to be more of a “deer in the headlights” thing to me. Processing such phenomenal success in such a short time is not easy to do. I’ve been saying for the past two years that this is a talent that will be around for a long time, so it’s good to see that she’s starting to enjoy it!
Kathy Mattea, “Black Lung”
Joe’s Pub, New York City – October 24, 2007
Jonathan from over at Slant gave me the heads up today about this video circulating on YouTube. Apparently Sugarland has been doing quite the unexpected cover song in concert lately:
When I first heard “Irreplaceable”, I thought the acoustic guitar gave it a bit of a country flavor, but it was a straight-up R&B hit nonetheless. It’s also one of the best songs from the past year, with a relentless hook (“To the left, to the left”) and as Sugarland proves, a great song can find a home in any genre. It’s good to see a young, mainstream act realizing what veterans like Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and the late Johnny Cash discovered years ago.
Speaking of Sugarland, have you noticed their album sales have been consistently rising since they released the video for “Stay”, with scans now over 1.23 million units? I didn’t think that Enjoy the Ride had a shot at matching the Twice the Speed of Life numbers, but if album sales are spiking so quickly, this could be a career record for them.
If you’ve missed the powerful video, check it out now:
I’m just in an unshakably good mood lately! Gotta go run some errands, but I’ll be doing a lot of posting this weekend.
For now, enjoy the best country guest appearance in the history of The Simpsons – Johnny Cash, helping Homer find his soul mate. And a hearty congrats to Brady Vercher of The 9513, who is marrying his soul mate this weekend!
CBS has a tendency to pull clips from this show down as soon as they’re up, so I highly recommend watching it now: the 1993 Women of Country documentary. It traces the history of women in country from the early days all the way through 1992. When it first aired, it was my crash course in the history of the genre, along with a celebration featuring female artists that all rank among my favorites.
The live performances are fantastic. Nearly every major female artist of that time performs: Suzy Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Tanya Tucker. Michelle Wright, Wynonna and Trisha Yearwood. There are also performances from legends Emmylou Harris and Tammy Wynette, and an all-star finale.
However, the real reason to watch is to see the story of women in country music told by those who lived it, including some who are no longer with us today, like Wynette, June Carter Cash, Rose Maddox, Patsy Montana. The vintage clips of Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline and others are priceless.
For me, the most powerful moment is Jeannie C. Riley’s heartbreaking story of the beautiful layered dress that she had bought to wear to the 1968 CMA awards, where she would win Single of the Year for “Harper Valley P.T.A.” When she went to pick up her dress, it had been butchered into a miniskirt at the direction of her producer. Even 25 years later, she still remembers the humiliation. It’s really the perfect metaphor for how women had no control over their careers through most of the genre’s history. That’s in Part 10, at the 1:50 mark.
Here’s a list of all the videos. If you’re at all interested in country music’s past, it’s essential viewing.
Part 1: Introduction; performance of by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Part 2: Spirit of the Mountains; performance by Emmylou Harris.
Part 3: Heartsongs; performance by Trisha Yearwood.
Part 4: Cowgirls in a Man’s World; performance by Suzy Bogguss.
Part 5: Honky Tonk Angels; performance by Pam Tillis.
Part 6: Rockabilly; performance by Tanya Tucker.
Part 7: The Nashville Sound; performance by Lorrie Morgan.
Part 8: The Folk Revival; performance by Kathy Mattea.
Part 9: Heroines; performance by Tammy Wynette.
Part 10: Women Ascending; performance by Michelle Wright.
Part 11: New Country; performance by Patty Loveless.
Part 12: 80’s Ladies; performance by Wynonna.
Part 13: The Future: all-star finale.
I can’t think of another living musician with a greater entitlement to arrogance than Paul McCartney, and he is still remarkably humble. This should be a lesson to all musicians in all genres.
“If You’re Reading This.”
As performed on the 2007 ACM Awards.
Press Play. Then Play Again.
Now that it’s been released officially as a single, let me add a few words and a grade. The song says it all for me, but what a beautiful tribute to those who serve, and to those who serve a higher power in the process. It joins the ranks of Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier” and Dolly Parton’s “Welcome Home” in my very own pantheon of favorite soldier songs. He’s done a great honor giving voice to our men and women in uniform, and the families that love them. As the comments prove, the comfort that this song provides is immeasurable. It’s a masterpiece from the genre’s most consistent and consistently surprising superstar.
Listen: If You’re Reading This