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前卫乡村 Progressive Country

乡村音乐(country)由早期美洲的开拓者们代代相传直到今天。最早的欧洲移民在北美东海岸登陆后,就以小聚居的团体形式开始慢慢地向美洲大陆腹地推进。当他们来到阿巴拉契亚山脉脚下时,偏远宁静的原野和绿荫覆盖的山峦唤起了他们对家乡的无限思念。于是,许多人便在田纳西州、阿肯色州东北部和肯塔基州西部定居下来。在很长一段时间,这些地区一直没有修建道路,所谓的“交通”只不过是大篷车在荒野上压出的车辙和蜿蜒曲折的河流。虽然闭塞的环境阻碍了经济的发展,但也带来了平静的田园生活。由于这些地区一直处于与世隔绝的封闭状态,很少有什么人和事来打扰他们,几百年来,这些乡民们的生活几乎没有什么变化。
  每天傍晚这些乡民总会举行劳作之余的乡间小聚——这是他们主要的文化活动。19世纪20年代,当纽约那些所谓的“都市文明人”正沉迷于爵士乐的浅吟低唱时,这些偏僻地区的乡民们却仍然弹着自制的乐器,吟唱着他们的祖先早年从欧洲大陆带来的古老歌曲。虽然乡间生活的大部分时间总是充满艰辛坎坷,但这些生性无所畏惧的欧陆移民,却始终十分开朗乐观。在宽泛的文化体系影响下,这些民歌无论是曲调还是歌词都十分自由,渐渐形成了美式性格的开朗奔放。伴随着乡间舞蹈,这些简单质朴的民歌渐渐发展起来。就这样,美洲大陆移植了这些传唱了几个世纪之久的欧洲民歌——而这种乡间小唱正是乡村音乐的前身。
  实际上,我们通常所说的乡村音乐,在严格的意义上只是乡村音乐中的冰山一角——现代乡村音乐,而真正的乡村音乐本身是个非常庞大的概念。像所有美国流行音乐一样,乡村音乐最初的起源也是多方面的:l9世纪欧洲的民间歌谣、非洲黑人歌曲以及南方的宗教音乐都给了乡村音乐很多养分。正是在这些音乐基础上,乡村音乐历经岁月洗礼,通过无数人的不断发展,才成为最有特色的美国本土音乐之一。

Progressive Country developed in the late '60s as a reaction to the increasingly polished and pop-oriented sound of mainstream, Nashville-based country. Inspired equally by the spare, twangy, hard-driving sound of Bakersfield country, the singer/songwriter introspection of Bob Dylan, classic honky tonk, and rock & roll, progressive country was the first anti-Nashville movement to emerge since the dawn of rock & roll. Progressive country was rootsier and more intellectual than many of its contemporary genres; it was more concerned with breaking boundaries than with scoring hits. The genre was also songwriter-based. Many of its key artists — Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Tom T. Hall, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock — were not "good" singers by conventional standards, yet they wrote distinctive, individual songs and had compelling voices. By the early '70s, such artists had developed a sizable cult following, and progressive country began to inch its way into the mainstream, usually in the form of cover versions (Sammi Smith took Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night" to the country Top Ten). Progressive country also provided the basis for outlaw country, a harder-edged genre that shook country-pop (briefly) off the top of the charts in the mid-'70s. Even after Outlaw's five-year reign in the late '70s, progressive country continued to exist, until it eventually metamorphosed into alternative country in the '80s.



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