January 23, 2008

'When I Get Where I'm Going'

Since the beginning, God and country music have gone together like fiddles and steel guitars. But now, there's a particularly strong wave of faith-based, Nashville sounds. As David Fillingim—the author of Redneck Liberation: Country Music as Theology—puts it, there have been a lot of songs

“that are just kind of straight gospel songs, that a few years ago would have only been played on the Christian radio stations, and now they're being recorded by the biggest country singers.”

And the main reason why this is so—as Sandi Dolbee wrote in an article published in The Paramus Post, a local news and lifestyle magazine based in Paramus, New Jersey—is that listeners love these songs:

“The level of passion that we see on these songs, especially like 'Jesus, Take the Wheel' and 'When I Get Where I'm Going' (Brad Paisley's heavenly hit), is overwhelming,” says Mike O'Brian, program director for US 95.7, one of San Diego's two FM country music stations. "I think these songs offer people hope - like blessed assurance."
Ditto for rival station KSON/97.3. “Country music is a values-based music,” says KSON's program director, John Marks. “Those who share those values gather around the format because it's safe for the children, it's lyrically driven and it's about things that people in real life deal with every day - losing a love, finding a love, breaking up, dating, everyday life.”Neil Haislop, a veteran county radio producer and writer in Los Angeles, points out that the audience isn't just Christian, it's pretty conservative Christians. “They believe in a Christian God and a fairly strict one.”

Hot young country singer Brad Paisley is in this wavelength (religion & traditional values), as can be heard in many of his songs, such as, for instance, “He Didn't Have To Be” (album: Who Needs Pictures, 1999), “Love Is Never-Ending” (Time Well Wasted, 2005), “Letter To Me,” and “When We All Get To Heaven” (5th Gear, 2007). With his style crossing between traditional country and pop-rock, he has made, in my opinion, some of the most interesting albums in the genre in the recent years.

In the YouTube video Brad Paisley is singing “When I Get Where I'm Going,” the song, from the above mentioned Time Well Wasted album, which gave him the fifth #1 of his career (March 2006).

From Wikipedia:

The video of this song features footage of Paisley singing in a forest, as well as home movies of Brad with his granddad, Warren L. Jarvis. He also holds up photos of himself with Jarvis and his aunt Rita Takach. The extended version of the video ends with Jarvis in a home movie saying "Come on in and rock a while!" and Brad smiling when he looks up from his guitar playing and sees this. It also features many different people holding photographs of loved ones who have presumably died. Two notable people featured in this video are Michael Reagan, who is shown holding a photograph of his father Ronald Reagan, and Teresa Earnhardt, who is shown sitting in front of a painted portrait of her husband, the late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt. Although she does vocals on the song, Dolly Parton is not shown singing in the video. However, she is shown holding a picture of a her grandfather, Rev. Jake Owens, who'd died a few years earlier. She kisses her hand then touches the photograph in this scene. John Carter Cash is featured holding a photo of his parents, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Various unknown people hold up photos of relatives who have passed on throughout as well.

Italian Government (probably) on the brink of collapse

“Poor Romano Prodi,” wrote the Financial Times on Sunday, “the year began badly for Italy’s slightly dishevelled but quietly effective prime minister.” I have got to confess that after reading the article I realized that I had lost something—something very important—during the last eighteen months, that is since April 2006, when Prodi returned to power by stitching together—as pointed out in the article—“an improbable patchwork coalition of nine squabbling parties, including communists, greens, and Catholics” (to whom I would add fiercely anticlerical ultra-secularists, moderate conservatives, free traders and libertarians).

As a matter of fact, I wonder how was it possible that I (as well as Bank of Italy’s Governor Mario Draghi!) had not before noticed—even though I do live in Italy!—our Prime Minister’s “quiet effectivess?” As it was not enough, how was it possible that I had not before noticed how heroically our “fiercely-competent” Minister of Finance, Mr Padoa-Schioppa, has been facing during those months “with the legacy of the fiscally-irresponsible Berlusconi government,” and the admirable way he “has begun to regain control of public finances?”

It would be a pity, therefore, to see him go so early, hit by two adverse events, of whom the first widely unexpected, both from the southern region of Campania:

a vesuvian eruption in the ongoing crisis of Neapolitan refuse collection, and the resignation of Clemente Mastella, Justice Minister, after he and his wife were hit by corruption allegations concerning appointments at a state hospital near Naples.

Obviously neither the Neapolitan people, except their centre-left Mayor, Mrs. Rosa Russo Jervolino, nor the rest of Italy think Mr Prodi bears any responsibility on the waste disposal crisis—even though the 17,000-strong Confturismo association of Veneto region must not have a particular veneration for Mr Prodi, but this is probably due to a disgraceful form of parochialism and economic egoism.
As for the rest of the article—by Martin Rhodes, a professor of comparative political economy at the University of Denver—, a very severe one, but unfortunately no more than what is necessary, I don’t think I have anything to say. Despite Mr Prodi and Mr Padoa-Schioppa, “Italy remains the least well-governed country in Europe.” How could I argue with that?