Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wish Fulfillment: WSJ Article About Nashville Music Scene Actually Kinda Gets It

Posted by on Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 11:16 AM

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Thank you, Mr. Barry Mazor. Last time I lamented the flood of stories about Nashville that lazily employ the same old shock that Nashville isn't just country, folks more or less said with a status-quo shrug: "Quit-yer-whinin'," "What do you expect?," "Stop beating a dead horse" or "Any publicity is good publicity." You yourself, as a Nashville residing national reporter (and veteran, revered music journalist, author and editor), even pointed out in the comments that national stories need national angles, and national angles about Nashville have to school an unknowing outsider of the non-country ways of many of our citizens. It's an angle even the best editors can't resist.

And then you went and changed the script.

Readers, please examine this Mazor-penned Wall Street Journal piece about some of Nashville's non-country fare that rightfully, accurately acknowledges the amusement of Nashville players at that predictable outsider shock, pointing out how long it's been more than country, then proceeding to list a number of local acts who continue to prove it.

It is, by this point, something of a local amusement among performers in Music City, U.S.A. (which never was called simply "Country Music City," after all) to spot the articles that appear every few months, quite dependably, in music and travel sections in the national press--the ones heralding the shocking new discovery that there is so much quality music being made here that isn't country at all. In truth, there were pop hits coming out of Nashville--everything from dance-band-era hits such as Francis Craig's "Near You," to the Bunny Hop and "Jingle Bell Rock"--when country-music record production was just ramping up on Music Row.

And it only took 1.5 paragraphs. Here's hoping other editors read it, and the next time a writer pitches a "Gasp: Nashville More Than Country!" story, they'll have to admit it's time to dig a little deeper, or at least ditch the feigned surprise. A small victory, yes, but a significant one nonetheless.

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