‘Did you ever see Dallas from a DC9 at night? Country music has the ability to take the mundane and make it seem magical, to elevate the yearnings of ordinary folk into something Shakespearean. Yes, it can be sentimental, but it’s never schmaltzy.
At its best, it taps into the existential struggles of isolated individuals – the self pitying drunkard, the teen dreaming of life beyond the hollow, the lonely truck driver out on the road, the suburban housewife trapped in a loveless marriage.
Temptation is always present, disappointment a constant theme and ruination a strong possibility. Yet country music never fails to offer some kind of redemption, even if it often falls short of salvation.
Over the past few decades, country has been seduced by mainstream audiences, diluting the genre, but these songs date from a time when it walked that fine line between the fires of hell and the houses of the holy.’
Billy Bragg, July 2020
The Three Dimensions of Freedom, available now.