Sunday, February 4, 2018

Trailer Trad Tunes: The Rural Romanticism of New Country

Country music today offers many things that are sorely missing from most popular music. The first thing I'd like to point out is how deeply emotional some of my favorites are. Many many describe this as sentimentality at best or cold Music City manipulation at worst. Regardless, where else does this old fashioned humanity exist in modern music? As much as I like many alternative music genres, very few songs plumb much emotional depth besides EMO rebellious alienation. Hipster Americana and New Grass engage in ironic mimicking of various emotions, sure, but real emotions like love often ring hollow for me.

The messages of the lyrics and the imagery in the videos are surprising considering its popularity with men. Lyrics usually consist of men idolizing women and hoping to marry one by promising them the moon or by laying out romantic plans. These don't seem like hollow pickup artist ploys but heartfelt renderings of classic, American love.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Beautiful Richmond Part III: Civilized Commerce

Richmond, for reasons that I'm not exactly sure, has quite an inventory of beautiful commercial buildings downtown. Was it that, for many years, the city was so forgotten in time that no one cared enough to tear stuff down for urban renewal? Or was it is that Gilded Age architecture was so massive and extravagant that people couldn't bear to wreck it and it would cost too much anyway?
Living downtown, I'm reminded of childhood trips there around Christmas to Thalhimers, Miller & Rhodes, Berry Burke and others for presents or to visit Richmond DOR poo-bah Aunt Sarah. For years, these blocks were a blight but now, one by one, they appear to be coming back. Some of the monumental bank facades now house condos and apartments now while Miller & Rhodes is a Hilton. Old stores and restaurants are gradually being occupied by new restaurants but I must admit that retail (ironically) has lagged in this old commercial district. A grocery store or Target would come in very handy and there are some lovely buildings that could house them!