Barth, Country Music, Dzhugdzhur Mountains, Flannery O'Connor, freedom, George Strait, I can still make Cheyenne, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Kirchliche Dogmatik, Pure Country, Siberia, Terrence Malick, truth, Will Smith
1. George Strait is the King of Country Music; that is, he is Country’s true, good, and beautiful.
Anyone familiar with George and his legacy will recognize this to be a cliché, truistic, and mundane point — his epithet is King George, after all. And I can only agree. This title which so rightly describes George shows nothing less than the nobility of country music listeners. Flannery O’Connor used to quip when people asked her about Southern writers penchant for writing about freaks that it was because “we are still able to recognize one.” Likewise, country music fans (dare I say believers?) call George King because they are still able to recognize one who has ascended most excellently the heights of his heroic craft. To borrow from Terrence Malick against any remaining cynicism about this claim, I say that “when people express what is most important to them, it often comes out in clichés. That doesn’t make them laughable; it’s something tender about them. As though in struggling to reach what’s most personal about them they could only come up with what’s most public.”
2. George Strait’s performance in ‘Pure Country’ stands as the pinnacle of all musicians who have ventured into the role of movie-screen thespian.
Outdoing the likes of Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan, or Will Smith in Wild West just to name a handful, Strait’s art displays an intensity and profundity that retains its essential Country character that is admirable and deserving of votarients from all aesthetics.
3. ‘I Can Still Make Cheyenne’ is the epitome of Country music, illuminating its true form and content, dignified with a profound egalitarianism, haunted by love lost, chastened by the frontier setting of Wyoming and chastened again through its realism as its driven by the circuit bull-rider, and incarnating an instantiation of that which defines the cowboy — namely, freedom.
To unpack this thesis would require monograph upon monograph. Indeed, an ivory tower university of coveted knowledge would do well to create an entire society of Strait scholars rather than superficially exegeting him in any volume less than the breadth of Kirchliche Dogmatik. For now, rather than risk reducing the ever-expanding meaning of the event that this song is, as if cartographically elucidating the omnitude of the Siberian Wilderness with the boundaries of the Dzhugdzhur Mountains passed satisfactorily, I will simply summon you to enter the whirlwind boldly.