Essay: Parallels in the Development of Country Music and Genre Fiction

Country Music Museum
A peek inside the Country Music Museum (Photo by Adinda Uneputty)

Country music and genre fiction (specifically science-fiction and fantasy, hereafter just “sff”) might not seem like they have much in common. In fact, they have developed along strikingly similar lines. Both are popular art forms subject to a certain devaluation, especially by cultural elites. And in both cases, there is a divide between a more conservative mainstream that appeals to the masses and more political progressive, artistically ambitious element.

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My Favorite Artist: Lucinda Williams

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Lucinda Williams (Photo by Danny Clinch)

Editor’s Note: Parklife DC asked its contributors to write essays about their favorite bands. These essays appear in an occasional series, My Favorite Artist, and provide our readers with insights into our bloggers, their motivations, and their approach to covering concerts.  

In 1994, Lucinda Williams won her first Grammy Award for Best Country Song for “Passionate Kisses,” a track from her self-titled 1988 turn to Americana. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s cover of the song also won for Best Country Vocal Performance.

While Mary may have taken away the hardware for her performance of the song, Lucinda’s hardcore fans — like me — will always prefer her performance of the song.

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Live Review: Wire @ Union Stage — 3/9/20

Wire @ Union Stage, Washington DC, 03/09/2020
Colin Newman performs with Wire at Union Stage on March 9, 2020. (Photo by Paivi Salonen)

For over 40 years, Wire has been one of the most innovative bands to come out of the United Kingdom, if not the world. Since their 1977 debut, Pink Flag, they’ve shifted their musical style with almost every album. Beginning as a stripped-down, breakneck-paced punk affair, Wire has embraced new textures and sounds, including electronic music.

The band’s recent show at DC’s Union Stage began with a 45-minute DJ set of electronic music, with one notable composition that sounded like a fusion of Ennio Morricone and ambient electronics.

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Live Review: Lankum @ Jammin’ Java — 3/12/20

Lankum
Lankum (Photo courtesy Rough Trade Records)

The droning guitars and eerie pipes of the Irish folk band Lankum have led some to describe their music as apocalyptic. On the evening before the declaration of the coronavirus pandemic as a US national emergency, the band darkly joked, “Thanks a million for taking your lives into your own hands.”

Frontman Ian Lynch added, “We kind of feel like the band on The Titanic.”

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Interview: Raul Malo (of The Mavericks @ The Birchmere, 7/13/20)

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Raul Malo (foreground) fronts The Mavericks (Photo by David McClister)

(Editor’s note: This show was rescheduled from March 25 due to the coronavirus threat.)

Raul Malo is best known as the frontman of critically acclaimed band The Mavericks, who uniquely fuse classic honky tonk, rockabilly, Tejano, and pop, as well as his own Cuban background. He also released a number of well-received solo albums, mainly during a period of hiatus for the band.

Parklife DC’s Mark Engleson interviewed Raul in advance of his solo date at The Birchmere on Monday, July 13. They talked about his projects, his approach to production and songwriting, his musical background and influences, and the upcoming concert.

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