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When you think of country music today, most often images of Texas Ten Gallon hats and cowboy boots come to mind, along with a nice southern twang, like the one heard in Tim McGraw's "Shotgun Rider," the top song on the Billboard's hot country chart.
But maybe we've been thinking about country music all wrong. Maybe here in New England, when we talk about country music we should instead think of wooded Maine, and of Dick Curless, a singer with an eye-patch.
Author Clifford Murphy argues that New England has a rich history of Country and Western music rooted in many different ethnic groups.
Cliff Murphy, author of the book Yankee Twang: Country and Western Music in New England.
- "The 'wave' is the rapidly growing popularity of country music and country western culture in Greater Boston. From Lynnette and Easy Ed’s monthly Honky Tonk Dance Party at the Canadian American Club in Watertown to line dancing at the Moose Lodge in North Reading, the suburbs are becoming more than a little bit country."
- "It was only 60 years ago that New England was home to a robust country music culture all its own – not only in small-town Grange Halls, but also in high-brow urban locales like Boston’s Symphony Hall, where the weekly 'Hayloft Jamboree' showcased live performances of New England country talent every weekend. The music was instantly recognizable as country, even though many of the singers’ accents indicated ethnic heritages – Italian, Polish, Armenian, Quebecois, Greek – not typically associated with they mythical Anglo-Saxon mountain origins of country music."
Thanks to Frank Loconto and Cliff Murphy for providing music.
This segment aired on December 22, 2014.