I have been told there is very little music that I don’t like and that I seem to find the good in pretty much everything. That’s close to true, but there is one type of music that I kind of universally dislike, and not surprisingly it is modern popular country music. I say not surprisingly because, for as popular as it is, it seems almost equally as reviled. Some would say that its popularity is why it is disliked so much. But, it’s not the popularity that bothers me, I just straight up don’t care for it very much. I think it all sounds the same, I think the topics are cliché and I think it is a complete bastardization of what I think country music should be.
I suppose now I should talk about what I think country music should be, but instead I can only offer a cop out. It is hard to quantify what I think country music should be. It is almost a feeling I get when it is on. Something about a guy like Merle Haggard or Willie Nelson takes me back to riding around in my grandmother’s old car and hearing songs about loving strong women and whiskey when I honestly had no idea what loving strong women or whiskey meant. I don’t get the same feeling I get when I listen to Sugarland as I do when I listen to say, Loretta Lynn or Patsy Cline, and it is honestly true of almost every song on modern country radio.
My dislike of the genre is also personally unique. When I hear something that I don’t like, I don’t normally damn the whole genre. For instance, I don’t like Theory of a Deadman, but I don’t think all rock music is bad. I don’t like Drake, but I don’t think hip hop is bad. But when I hear a song from say, Rascall Flats, I just hate everything. It is probably unfair, but it is just my unfortunate reaction. It is why I love an artist like Jordan Sellergren so much. Her style of folk country gives me hope that the Americana music I appreciate is still alive and well.
Sellergren, performing as Milk and Eggs with the backing of many talented musicians, is a sweet voiced singer-songwriter from Eastern Iowa who truly understands what roots music should sound like. Milk and Eggs’ self titled debut was released in summer of last year and is nine songs of angelic voiced acoustic stylings. Sellergren is a bit of a unique story herself, which I think helps in turn craft unique stories with her music. Sellergren grew up in the Cedar Rapids area and worked as a visual artist. Her life’s passions saw her for a time in the Virgin Islands and New Zealand. While in New Zealand, she decided to take up music, and Milk and Eggs is the product of that.
What Sellergren has done with her nine songs is craft beautiful 2 to 5 minutes stories with clear focus and intelligent lyrics. She lays her stories on a bed of traditional music that is simplistic, but not simple, if that makes any sense. There are times where it reminds me of Patsy Cline’s band and at times just a step above what I imagine was played in saloons in Dodge City. That’s not to say it’s cartoony, but there is a very distinct old fashioned nature to the piano, bass and guitar. Sellergren is a unique talent who is producing music in arguably the oldest American musical style.
I was listening to Kathy Mattea’s album “Coal” not too long ago, and I think a lot of the same things about that album as I do this one. Mattea performed an entire album about Kentucky, and you felt and believed every word she had to say about the subject, and a lot of the songs were just traditionals, not even her own original works. Nevertheless, the feeling I got listening to her sing about never leaving Harlan alive was an understanding and authenticity few can bring. Sellergren brings a similar authenticity to this album as well.
What I guess I like most about Milk & Eggs is that listening to Sellergren sing and pick her guitar while a talented crew of musicians back her, is it reminds me that music has the ability to bring a truly visceral reaction. What I like about this is that you don’t just listen to Sellergren, you feel her. And to me, that is the essence of music and what I miss from more pop country acts. It may be my issue, but I guess if the emotion isn’t there for you, it just isn’t there.
Try Not To Miss Shows – 1/26/12 – 2/1/12
3rd Annual Snow Ball w/ Mindrite, Index Case, Hath No Fury, Deadhorse Trauma and Callous Nation – People’s 1/27
Some of Iowa’s best heavier bands together for one night. If you’re into loud rock music, I’d suggest this one.
Little Ruckus w/ Lesbian Poetry, Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, Gunpowder Fatty – Vaudeville Mews Jan 30 530 pm
This one should be incredible. Little Ruckus has been gaining quite a following with a unique stage show and a lot of fun. Highest possible recommendations for this one.