Tag Archives: Jefferson Davis High School
By Ryan McDaniels
Boy, has Caesar got me thinking about music and our country and our times. I often wonder why my iPod is filled with music from before I was born. Probably because it is just so much better; it contains heart and purpose. But more importantly, it brought people together and told us a story. How would an album about family farms, entitled Scarecrow fair today? My guess is, it may appeal to the modern Country and Western listening audience and those who think they are listening to Country. But, in 1985 John Cougar Mellencamp brought such an album to the number two spot on the popular charts with a series of top ten singles about small town America. The title track was somewhat of a commercial flop. Through the power of Music Television, a fairly new concept in the mid-eighties, imagery mixed with music helped tell the story of the American family farm to young viewers otherwise separated by thousands of miles and cultural differences. Mellencamp founded Farm-Aid on the heels of this album and has been working to promote the family farm in the United States ever since. You don’t get to number two just selling records to farmers. Something resonated in this album that was uniquely American.
I read recently that this genre is now called Heartland Rock. In addition to Mellencamp, it includes artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and Tom Petty. But wait, these four guys are from Indiana, New Jersey, Michigan and Florida. Except for being from Presidential battleground states they can’t have anything in common. Can they? Throw in a New York City cop, like Eddie Money, and now I’m really confused. Who could have influenced these white-bred, blue-collar American realists? Their bios say Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones. Nooo, that can’t be true. Dylan is a folklorist freak. Van Morrison is an introvert from Ireland. And, the Stones are leftovers from the British invasion. They just didn’t get the memo to go home. These 60’s and 70’s artists were all influenced by Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. Southern Blues, you know the heart of Rock and Roll. There is no way the 1980’s middle-aged, white guys from swing states can have anything in common with Southern Blues. Unless, it really is a small world, at least, musically speaking? ……READ MORE“