Sunday, February 12, 2006

Regionalism, Music, and other such things

I was perusing my itunes when I noticed for the first time how much of my preferences in music fall along regional lines. Maybe its just a coincidence or because my preference in music mainly comes from certain regions, but I don't really think that's it.

Obviously New Orleans has its own style, or rather everyone that comes out of New Orleans has a common thread: Neville Brothers, Doctor John, Fats Domino, Galactic, Rebirth Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick Jr., and Professor Longhair all have that distinguishable SOMETHING, that distinguishable flavor about them that tells you that they are from New Orleans.

Also for some reason I have a large amount of preference for bands or artists from the state of Georgia. On my links list I link the website of the band Widespread Panic. Widespread is a jam band from Athens. Also one of my all-time top 5 favorite bands: R.E.M. is also from Athens. You will also find on my playlists fellow Athenians The B52's and Of Montreal. Another Georgian band Drive-By-Truckers who is led by the wonderfully named Patterson Hood (who I always feel like renamed (not that he did rename himself) himself to make southerners think of the Confederate Civil War general John Bell Hood much in the same way that Joe Theismann wanted to sound like Heisman) makes a few appearences in my playlists. Furthermore many bands from around that area like The Allman Brothers are featured heavily in my listening rotation.

What is my point? I'm not really sure. Maybe its that certain regions just produce wonderful music. It makes sense for Brooklyn to produce hip bands or whatever, but does it necessarily make sense for Georgia to produce southern-rockers DBT, hip dance-rockers Of Montreal, the leaders of the 80's alternative revolution R.E.M., the jam band with what is currently the largest following (Widespread Panic), or the wonderfully eclectic B52's? Not really. For some reason, and this has always been true, the south produces music that is of a higher quality than most of the rest of the country.

I know there are spots everywhere that produce incredible music (Chicago, Austin, Motown!,SF) but I don't think there is so much variation in talent and so much quality music historically speaking as there is across Tennessee, Georgia, north Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Starting with such principles in music history as Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, and Louis Armstrong the south has been the leaders in music, constantly developing and inspiring other musicians to follow. Think of some of the world's greatest musicians: Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Prince, Eric Clapton, whatever is your taste... the music of the south was in many ways the foundation for what they played.

I'm a regionalist, I love to support the south in various endeavors whether its silently cheering Beauregard while I'm reading T. Harry Williams's biography of him or I'm watching a football game I will largely cheer for a southern team to do well. Which brings me to football.

To quote Spiro Agnew, "the nattering nabobs of negativism" over at HP and to a lesser extent CFR have been down on SEC ball for a while now. Whatever. It doesn't matter how we run our offenses, who the coordinators are, the south will almost always play the best brand of football. The athletes are more incredible (Bo Jackson, Hershel Walker, Deion Sanders), the coaches more legendary (Bear Bryant, Johnny Vaught, Steve Spurrier), the traditions have more power (Howard's Rock, War Eagle, UGA Chapel Bell), and the girls are prettier (enough said, Nebraska may have a great football history but you don't see the same type of girls at husker games as you do at LSU, Ole Miss, UGA, Bama, etc.).

So I have come to the conclusion that while the south may lag behind in some aspects (like hillbillies who marry sisters, the NASCAR phenomenon, and apparently the Seneca Falls Declaration phenomenon hasn't hit a few trailer parks yet, they don't have any money and still the wimmen are forced to clean and cook), but in football, music, and oh yeah... ladies; the south is spectacular, the best in the country.

(this post was dedicated to Kyle)

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