Monday, June 27, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 27: A Song You Wish You Could Play

Okay, so I actually can play the song that I'm selecting for today, but I play it badly. Despite my pretensions to the contrary yesterday, I'm not a very good guitar player. I never learned the scales, I don't know anything about musical theory, and I can't pick worth a damn. What I can do is good enough for rock n' roll, for the most part, but when it comes to playing slower songs with a lot of nuance, I just don't have the chops.

One of the most frustrating things is to have a song that you can sing but can't play. This is one of those songs for me. If I had my druthers, I would be able to play not only the slow-pickin' parts of this song, but also that sweet slide. The sound of a slide guitar is, in my view, second only to the sound of a pedal-steel in mimicking the human voice. There's just something about that sound that wails and cries. It's beautiful.

Speaking of wailing and crying, today's song selection is from Sugarland, whose lead singer Jennifer Nettles has a voice that I would easily cut off a limb to have. Sugarland does a lot of the kind of overproduced pop-country that shouldn't really count as country music (think: Lady Antebellum), but Nettles' voice redeems all of that for me. Anyway, here's their very best, "Very Last Country Song," from their 2008 album Love On The Inside:



So, yeah, I can't play this in any way close to what might do it justice. But what an amazing song. There are a lot of jokes about country music-- what happens if you play a country song backwards? you get your job, your wife and your dog back!-- and I suppose that ridicule is somewhat earned. The great thing about "Very Last Country Song" is that it trades on all of the same stereotypes of country music, but does so with all of the affection of a true country music lover. And, come on, this is just one of the best choruses ever written:

If life stayed the way that it was
And lovers never fell out of love
If memories didn't last so long
If nobody did nobody wrong
If we knew what we had before it was gone
If every road led back home...
This would be
The very last country song.

I suppose that would be nice if lovers never fell out of love and every road led back home and all that.. but, for my part, I sure would miss the country songs.

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