Nathan Rabin, one of my most favorite writers from the AV Club, one of my most favorite websites, has decided to educate himself on country music by listening to it almost exclusively for a whole year. He consulted his therapist and everything.
His plan is to start off with the capital L Legends (Cash, Nelson and Williams), segue into more obscure shit your dad was probably a session player on and end in modern popular country. I hope his scope is not too limited. Between all the reading, writing and listening he plans to do, just how deeply can he explore the genre? I want him to do the work so I don't have to.
I have this nerdy tic that forbids me from learning anything new until I feel competently educated on the canon. Country music has always seemed too unwieldy to even attempt because--where to start? The blues? Folk and gospel? Does bluegrass count? There's Celtic shit in there too, you know. It's frustratingly enormous.
My mom loves Elton John and my dad loves Slayer, so I grew up ignorant of even the most basic country music facts. By the time I was in college I had made some friends that were into it (Merle Haggard, etc.) and I found myself interested. I liked what I was hearing, but was too lazy/poor/intimidated to figure out where to begin.
Rabin's planning a year-end trip to Music City to see the sights, which lets me know he is pretty dedicated to the project. I'm looking forward to keeping up with his progress so I can learn a thing or two and finally give a damn about one of the few things that is only sometimes embarrassing about Tennessee.