1. What the cartoonist fails to understand is that country music and western music aren’t the same thing.

    There’s a fair bit of overlap in performers and the music, but the songs are thematically different. Country music tends to be about the simple rustic country life. Western songs are about the subjects of the US west–cowboys, gunfights, the desert–and, to my ears anyway, tends to express a bit of Mexican influence.
    There’s a lot more country in the mainstream. I can’t think of any mainstream acts that do western music. So, eastern music is entirely plausible.

    This is what a country song is:

    This is a western song:

  2. “What the cartoonist fails to understand is that country music and western music aren’t the same thing.”

    I don’t think she does and I think that’s entirely the point. Country-Western is a fusion of two genres Country and Western so she’s imagining a more specialized fusion Country and Eastern.

    But I don’t think the joke can sustain the assumption Christian with Country per se.

  3. Billybob has it @1, “That’s all, folks!
    P.S. On the other hand, if Vic Lee is going to “invent” something for the purposes of a mediocre gag, it might be a good idea to ensure that it doesn’t already exist.
    P.P.S. There’s another group with the same name on Facebook, but given the line about being proud of “100 likes”, they must not be that well-known.

  4. @woozy: I disagree. Country and Western is just a code word used by the record industry. There is not much fusion there and modern performers typically do not perform both types of songs. In the same way that Rhythm & Blues is code for “black music”, Country and Western is code for “redneck and hillbilly music.”

  5. In their own way, both woozy and Singapore Bill are right. Originally, they were two different, though related genres with some overlap in artists. Roy Clark and Buck Owens both worked strongly in both strains. But when the marketeers took over the music industry in the 70s, C+W came to mean what SB said. Western had always had a slightly smaller demographic, some of which moved into rockabilly and then rock through western swing, and Hee Haw and the Grand Ol’ Opry grew dominant. The last big western artist was probably Marty Robbins.

    As for Country and Eastern, it certainly doesn’t surprise me that it actually exists. Country is ridiculously popular all over the world. It’s huge in Ireland and has a big following in Germany. I’m sure there are Asian bands that perform country songs, especially in Japan.

  6. Nobody has yet touched on what bothered me the most: the set-up for said “joke” doesn’t even work! If she recognizes what kind of music it is, then she wouldn’t be questioning where the host sourced it, at least not in that way! “You had a good geographical mix here tonight — a lot of Texans, and lot of Virginians; but I gotta ask — where the heck did you find the country western music?” It doesn’t work, unless she’s critiquing the quality of said music.

    Maybe bring up some bizarre instrumentation combination, like sitars and harps, or how did you get Yoyo Ma to play the ehru, or where did you find Tuvan throat singers who could do Gregorian Chants…

  7. I taught at a university that had an interfaith center with both Catholics and Protestants.

  8. Re: larK (JANUARY 9, 2019 AT 11:26 AM)

    The assumption underlying the question, “Where the heck did you find the country-eastern music” is that it doesn’t really exist, yet somehow, the host was able to get a band (or recordings) that satisfied that description. The same question would therefore not be able to be asked of country-western music in the Texas-Virginia example.

  9. First, I don’t think I’ve seen “Country and Western” written with the hyphen. It looks strange.

    Next wouldn’t “Country and Eastern” be folk music? Contemporary folk music is big here in the Northeast.
    Actually I think there is some overlap between contemporary country and folk.

    Sitars were mentioned. They pop up in all sorts of recordings.

    Overall the comic didn’t work for me.

  10. Someone at https://www.musicgenreslist.com/ has been compiling a list of music genres. Here are the subcategories of Country: Alternative Country, Americana, Bluegrass, Contemporary Bluegrass, Contemporary Country, Country Gospel, Country Pop, Honky Tonk, Outlaw Country, Traditional Bluegrass, Traditional Country, and Urban Cowboy. “Western” does not appear in the list, so it is apparently a work in progress.

  11. @Mark in Boston #17 another source of categories is the Grammys. They differentiate, for example, between Southern Gospel, Country Gospel and Bluegrass Gospel. Allmusic.com also has a ton of categories: how can we forget “yodelling”? For cowboy, yodelling, American West, check out https://sonsofthepioneers.org/ .

  12. You’re right, it’s gone on long enough. But I just have to take one more shot at pointing out that the right invented style for the joke would be “City and Eastern”.

  13. Also I should mention that one of the relatively unsung great record albums of the 60s was East — West by the Butterfield Blues Band. It had several really well done tracks in the Chicago Electric Blues tradition (which a record store could reasonably file in the Rock section) and a fantastic, wonderful, great instrumental track, also called East — West. It combined their own hard-rocking sound with passages influenced by their listening to Indian music. They did not take up the sitar and tabla but made sounds with (slightly retuned) electric guitars that clearly were inspired by that exposure.

    Sometime in maybe the 90s one of the band members offered a CD with four different recordings of that piece. They were all different, and all good, but I think I still prefer the one on the original studio LP.

    BTW, this was done before the Beatles issued any of their songs with sitar.

  14. Years ago I heard the poem “Locksley Hall” set to the tune of “Ghost Riders.” Weird but cool

  15. ” the right invented style for the joke would be “City and Eastern”.”

    Hold on. The center for “Country” music Nashville, TN… population round 700,000, and center of a metropolitan area of about 2 million persons. (I also habitually stumble over people who insist that “the west” includes Texas, a state on the same seacoast edge of the continental US as New York, Baltimore, and Miami.)

  16. Steve: “Years ago I heard the poem “Locksley Hall” set to the tune of “Ghost Riders.” Weird but cool”

    You probably know about singing “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” to the tune of “Hernando’s Hideaway.”

    Many years ago at an sf convention, I was in a nearby bar with another fan (O.K., it was the Toronto Worldcon in 1973 and the bar was The Spanish Donkey and the fan was George Wells, in the unlikely event anyone here knows any of them) and we got into a drunken challenge to sing Rhysling’s poem about “The Green Hills of Earth” (from the Heinlein short story fo the same name) to increasingly difficult tunes. We decided doing so to “Ghost Riders in the Sky” was the second hardest/funniest, but the winner was to “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.”

    “We pray for one last landing
    On the globe that gave us birth;
    Let us rest our eyes on fleecy skies
    And the cool, green hills of Earth.”

  17. James Pollock:

    Isn’t Texas more or less to the west of St. Louis (a.k.a. “Gateway To The West”)? 🙂

    Does Texas have much in common in terms of culture with the country east of the Mississippi?.

    It seems a couple of you were complaining about this thread, but while the comic itself may be underwhelming, the musical conversation is nice. 🙂

    For those interested, the long-running NPR radio “American Routes” profiles various types of Country AND Western songs, among other American music genres. Archived episode linked here starts with a profile of western swing in the 1930s:


    …and I’ll check out the Butterfield Blues Band album.

  18. Talking about matching up odd poems to odd music:

    Bela Bartok’s opera “Bluebeard’s Castle” is written in Hungarian, in a meter I guess would be called trochaic tetrameter. An example of a line in this meter would be “Bluebeard’s Castle, Bluebeard’s Castle.”

    Program notes always seem to talk about the difficulty or even the impossibility of translating the poem into equivalent English that has the same meter, as if this meter is somehow impossible for poets to manage.

    But Poe and Longfellow did not find this meter impossible at all, so you can pick any aria or duet you want from “Bluebeard’s Castle” and sing The Song of Hiawatha to it.

    And beside them dwelt the singer,
    In the Value of Tawasentha,
    In the green and silent valley.
    There he sung of Hiawatha,
    Sang the Song of Hiawatha,
    Sang his wondrous birth and being,
    How he prayed and how he fasted,
    How he lived, and toiled and suffered
    That the tribes of men might prosper,
    That he might advance his people.

    And the Raven, never flitting,
    still is sitting, still is sitting,
    And my soul from out that shadow
    Shall be lifted — nevermore!

  19. Mark, that meter works well for Hungarian because basically all words in Hungarian have the emphasis on the first syllable. In English, therefore, it only works for verses with a restricted vocabulary. I note that all the words in those verses are either one syllable, two syllables with accent on the first, or four with accents on the first or third (HI-a-WA-tha).

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