back to the country

In the future, Ottawa’s history will be divided into two distinct epochs: pre- and post-New Country 94.

True, some were shocked by the demise of BOB-FM. And one suspects Corey Hart will feel its loss in his next royalty cheque.

But I can’t say I was surprised. I knew BOB’s days were numbered ages ago, when the station axed its popular Wigipedia Wednesday segment. It was only a matter of time.

Still, something new to enjoy. Can’t be bad, eh?

So let’s give this new airwaves presence a listen.

I’ll just tune it in on the old desktop computer. Let’s see, country94.ca

Funny, I could have sworn the pleasant-sounding announcer just promised George Jones and Tammy Wynette, coming up after a brief commercial break. Surely, I misheard. Yep, that’s George and Tammy all right. Good on ya, Country 94.

Oh wait, it turns out this is the site for Country 94 Saint John. Back to Lycos for another search…

Well, it seems the New Country 94 station in the nation’s capital does not have an online presence. Obviously, that’s designed to remind us that The Carter Family and Lefty Frizzell didn’t need no stinkin’ digital technology to reach the masses. Nicely played.

So let’s go to the dial. I’ll bet there’s a Marty Robbins tune playing right now!

Nope. Seems to be some rock and roll song. Perhaps it’s the reception. Hang on a moment while I check…

It’s not the reception. It’s New Country 94. A voice tells me so, before boasting of playing “10,000 songs in a row” (after which the station will perhaps change to talk radio). That’s a lot of country. Let’s hear it, then…

But instead of George and Tammy — who admittedly are not exactly new to country — we’re enjoying enduring Chris Young’s rocker Aw Naw.I suppose it could be considered country music; he does say y’all a time or two, after all.

He also spins an unsettling narrative that questions the constraints of peer pressure and alcohol abuse. It seems our protagonist feels trapped at some sort of social gathering where he is being encouraged to consume an excessive amount of brand-name tequila. Soon, he begins to fear that, left unchecked, someone might “start actin’ crazy.” Hell, he may even start actin’ crazy! It’s an introspective analysis that echoes the desperation of our troubled times.

Soon, though, the singer is distracted by a party-goer and her girlfriends, who arrive late in the proceedings. It would be impolite, he reasons, not to stay for one dance. For one thing, it might help to relieve what is clearly a tense situation. Besides, it will give the unnamed “girl” a chance to “show off those jeans [she has] painted on.” As the downward spiral continues, there will be much more dancing and drinking. And regret.

It’s a regular Bergman film, set to music. An existentialist parable that speaks to the futility of the modern age. A cautionary tale of group-mentality excess. With tight-fittin’ jeans.

It is so many things, this song. I wish one of those things could be that it is good.

Moreover, I wish it were country music.

I suppose it is new. So there’s that.

Hmm… I wonder what’s on that Saint John country station now?

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