Mike Sudhalter | June 2, 2009
One of my friends who doesn't listen to that much country music asked me why there are so many songs that deal with small towns.
And I said, it's just like any other genre of music. People have to represent where they come from. And he said, "it's not New York or LA." But I told him artists need to sing about the places they know, and what better than to sing about the places they call and/or called home.
One place I'd like to see get a name change is Arkansas. I think it should be changed to Texasee, which is a song and album by Luke Powers. It's straight-ahead folk country about a fictional place, but I think Arkansas has elements of both places and is geographically the only thing that separates Texarkana and Memphis.
This what Powers' website says about this gem of a song:
"Texans and Tennesseans have always been first cousins in the American genealogy. Both distrust authority and reality (strictly defined). Both have strong folk music histories that are quick to sop up any and every influence-hill music, old-time, native american, hispanic, blues, rockabilly, bluegrass, country, alt-country, western swing. Texasee is a musical utopia where what's best in song and spirit comes together in a three-minute moment. When you really listen to music, when in the words of Staples Singers, it "takes you there," that place must be somewhere-so for shorthand I just call it Texasee."
This is the best Texas-Tennessee song since Alan Jackson wished that Dallas were located in Tennessee, so he could move Texas east....you know the rest.
But the song combines elements of country music heroes from both states. There's kind of a establishment vs. non-establishment rivalry between the two, but both states are so vital towards the rich history of country music. The genre wouldn't be what it is today without the music from both states.