I think I got my first Cracker album in one of those BMG “get 10 CDs free” membership deals. I’ve always liked country music. The singers can sing, the musicians can play, and the words tell a story. None of those things are guaranteed in rock or pop music (I’m looking at you, grunge). Now I’m finding more bands I like such as Drive By Truckers and The Reverend Horton Heat, and I find that they’re loosely described as “alt country.” There are strong punk and rock influences running through these groups. Garage bands that aren’t cleaned up too much.
Much of the driving force behind this whole alt.country movement was, ironically, punk rock, as a generation of rock’n’rollers who’d grown up on bands like Black Flag, the Clash, the Meat Puppets, and the Replacements began branching out musically, looking backward as well as forward. In the process, many discovered country music. After all, punk rock had been about taking music back down to a grassroots level….Similarly, traditional country and old-time folk music was about creative and emotional expression that was simple, honest, and direct. Like punk, its heritage was built on a do-it-yourself spirit, and its history was peopled with singers and pickers who were amazingly expressive musicians….Looking at it this way, the connection between the two worlds wasn’t so tenuous after all.