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"Don't Fence Me In"

For every hundred columns I send out, 
I get back 200 unsubscribe requests, 
and an obscene singing telegram. 

I don’t know why, 
but some people get all honked off at my opinions. 
And I’m always so damn nice. 

Today's comments are mostly for the new artists and composers, 
who are trying to make it work. 

I think it's OK for country music to stretch out a little now and then.
New ideas should not be discouraged. 
Roger Miller said: "Let's not put a fence around it". 

A few bad paintings can't ruin the art world. 
An Edsel can't ruin the car business. 
Some junk coming out of Nashville can't kill country music. 
The good stuff is still around for us to enjoy. 

You meet people who don't like drums in country music. 
The Opry wouldn't allow them for a long time. 
Some people don't like string sections, and tell me this: 
“Ray Price is the varmint who ruined country music, dagnab it!” 
That’s when I yawn and ask “Are we in Cleveland yet?” 

The essence of country music 
doesn't depend on using or not using a steel guitar 
or a symphony orchestra. 
It's the voices, the songs, the feeling. 
You know it when you hear it. 

The artist shouldn't be intimidated by rules. 
Misty and I will try anything that feels right… 
musically speaking. 

I'm not saying country should go pop, 
or any other style, 
but an occasional surprise can help us stay awake. 
I never liked bagpipes, 
until I heard them play "Amazing Grace". 

Country music itself evolved from other roots, 
and has changed a lot in my lifetime. 
We can hold on to certain traditions, 
without becoming stagnant. 

One more thing... 
I don't think music should depend too much on videos. 
It should be able to stand on its own as music and words. 
Some really ugly people have been great singers. 

Copyright © April 18, 2006 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. 
Reprinted by permission.


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