Monday, July 17, 2006

Musings on Cross Canadian Ragweed

Just for grins, the other day I figured I'd check out the customer reviews on for Texas-Oklahoma red dirt country band Cross Canadian Ragweed. I have their self-titled cd (the one with the purple cover, excellent disc, best one I bought in all of 2005), and I was aiming to pick up Soul Gravy, the 2004 follow-up, but before I did I figured I'd see what others had said about it. One reviewer offered this observation:

But as a country fan myself I can say that this is NOT country music it is southern ROCK, and southern rock is not country music its ROCK.

Now, granted, I can see his point. Haggard and Strait, CCR most definitely are not. Still, though, I have to wonder if this particular self-proclaimed "country fan" had any problem hearing the likes of Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts on CMT and country radio. And say what you will about "southern ROCK," but I will tell you right here and now without even a hint of apology that bands like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band had a hell of a lot more country "street cred" than poseurs like Kenny Chesney (Judas, talk about a one-trick pony!), Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts could ever even think of having. I just can't help but think that more than a few people who think of a band like Cross Canadian Ragweed as a southern rock band, and see that as a bad thing, see what's going on in mainstream country music today as the pinnacle of the genre's evolution. And perhaps the greatest irony of that is that they'd tell people like me that we are the closed-minded ones, that country has room for all kinds of influences, yet in their next breath denigrate the country music credentials of a band like CCR. I daresay Cody Canada, Randy Ragsdale, Jeremy Plato and Grady Cross have more country soul in their respective little fingers than most of these Hot New Country "stars" have in their entire beings. Country? Maybe not in the strictest sense of what many would define as "Real Country Music," but these guys have soul, style and passion, three things sorely missed in today's "country music" environment. I hope they keep doing exactly what they're doing, because it's damned fine stuff indeed.