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  • Writer's pictureLJ VP LAFIURA

Rootin’ Tootin’: On Stranger Tides

Graphic by LJ LaFiura

Country music is one of the most popular genres in the United States with roots dating back to the 19th century. With that influence, it should not be a surprise that country music has permeated into other countries and cultures, creating breeds that many have never experienced. Here are some offerings from around the world.

Great Britain: Drunk Texts - New Rules

I felt it best to start this with the song that sparked this topic. I saw New Rules earlier this winter in a small venue. After doing a couple of numbers, one of the band members commented, “Alright, that’s enough with the country music,” leaving me to wonder what they were talking about. Country influence in Britain shows a stronger resemblance to soft pop in the states such as Train.

Great Britain: Wish I Could - The Wandering Hearts

The Wandering Hearts are the best example of the United Kingdom’s offerings, topping the Americana charts with both albums they have released. “Wish I Could” tells the internal narrative of someone who is still in love with their ex-lover. Like most Americana, it gets its country influence from modern pop country like Dan and Shay.

Japan: Furuki Hanazono - Tomi Fujiyama

Tomi is a pioneer in Japanese country music, signing her first recording contract in 1953 at age 13. Throughout the ‘60s and Vietnam War, she was very popular performing on United States military bases, eventually leading her to a performance at the Grand Ole Opry. Her work clearly has American bluegrass roots and resembles The Carter Family.

Sweden: Jailbird - Willy Clay Band

What in the Garth Brooks? The Willy Clay Band is a great listen and a fun time all around with an immense influence from ‘90s country artists like Brooks, George Strait, and even a little Randy Travis. This song, along with many of the Willy Clay Band’s works, also feels highly transferable. I would love to hear Garth Brooks sing this song and look forward to hearing more Willy Clay Band in the future.

Sweden: Jag älskar livet - Hasse Andersson

I didn’t intend to do two songs from Sweden until I heard this one. Jag älskar livet translates to I love life and this song embodies that notion. The song brings very positive vibes with a rhythm that, while not overt, drives throughout the song. Reminiscent of Faith Hill, this song is precisely what I’d expect from dansbandsmusik, Sweden's term for country translating directly to dance band music.

México: Cómo Le Haré - Emilio Navaira

Although he technically was born in Texas, Navaira was a staple of the Tejano genre, a style that combined American styles like country with Mexican influences and even European styles such as polka. “Cómo Le Haré” is about a man who wants to be something more with a woman who only wants to be friends and embodies much of what can be found in the genre. It is no wonder Navaira held the genre for so long.

Enjoy these pieces of American influence from across the globe. Remember, there’s more to your world than you know, so go out and explore.


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