Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Music, the Universal Language

Fans of particular music genres offer take a jaundiced--if not outright disparaging--view of other musical genres. How can one like both classical music and rap or be a fan of both country and soul? Musicians, though, have a much broader and more enlightened view: good music is good music, no matter what it is called and no matter who is composing, singing, playing or performing it.

In a January 2002 "Inside Borders" interview with Tim Pulice, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Willie Nelson explained his musical philosophy--and I think that he speaks well for a broad range of music creators and music lovers who see/hear past artificial, exclusionary genre fences erected by narrow-minded people:

I've found similarities in all kinds of music. Rap, blues, jazz, whatever--there's a thin line that runs through it all. So it really wasn't a stretch to see how Kid Rock and I could do a song together. Or Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow.

I've always felt that music was the common denominator, that if you could condense the English language into a few small but important words, you could connect with anybody. That's pretty much what a country song was: You'd try to put your ideas into two or three minutes so you could get it played on a radio station. If you were a good enough writer, you could get your point across in that period of time. That was the school in which I grew up.

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