From Harry-High-Pants to… (An Article I Wrote for The Noise Magazine)

When Google-Imaging ‘country and western pop culture’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there is none. I found a picture of a person made to look like roast chicken, a close-up of Homer Simpson’s eye, a unicorn and other non-related images. It is at this point I realise that writing about the changes in country pop culture is going to be more difficult than I thought. I’ll break it down for you (wikka wikka wo-OWW).

If you look at old black and white photos of cowgirls and cowboys, you will notice a few differences. Yes, they still wore button up shirts and jeans, but the jeans were pulled up to their armpits. Even today, many people in the country community – even young people – choose to wear high-waisted jeans. This is generally how you siphon the legit country people from the rest. If you have ever tried riding a horse in hipster jeans you would understand. So it seems that changes in country and western wear are more subtle than other styles. There’s nothing dramatic like going from baggy pants with chains to jeggings (eww) in a decade. However, if you look at old photos of barrel racers (a horse sport) you will notice a huge change. From normal looking station women, to ones that look like their wardrobe has thrown up on them. There’s ‘bling’ everywhere- shirts that you need sunglasses to look at and buckles which were bought, not earned, that could double as dinner plates.

Country music now has a broader range of styles than it used to as well. Though it may have a little less of a tinny twang these days, they often still seem to sing about losing everything to their ex-wives. Yet you still can’t beat some of the older artists like Johnny Cash or Kenny Rogers. Even though Kenny is trying his best not to look like an ‘older artist’… Or maybe the wind just changed when he was doing an impression of a wax model, of himself. I don’t know. All I do know is that he should’ve played The Gambler at least 17 times more at the Gympie Muster last year.

Unlike the movies, country people don’t generally chew tobacco or sunflower seeds and then spit them a tin. Nor are they as dim-witted as often portrayed. Chances are they can out-math you – try counting hundreds of cattle at a time rushing through a gate, or planning materials for kilometres of fencing. So even though their culture may seem a little different to you, at the end of the day, country people are just normal people like you.

Myself and Bean (of being chased by 'The Gibbon'
Myself and Bean (of being chased by ‘The Gibbon’