Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rattlesnake Annie -- Japanese country music fusion. The far reach of the imaginary wild west

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

Rattlesnake Annie is an American country blues singer, now in her 60s, who made a career in communist Czechoslovakia in the 1980s dueting with the late Czech country star Michal Tucny. I met her, in fact,  2007 at a country mustic festival in Prague that was dedicated to Tucny's memory on what would have been his 60th birthday. In recent years Annie has spent much of her time in Japan -- and recently produced this song, an English-Japanese country fusion  that provides a fascinating visual (and sound) record of the country music scene in Japan.

I knew about the rich and longstanding bluegrass scene in Japan, but I didn't know much about the "mainstream" country music scene and fan base.

BTW -- here is my favorite Michal Tucny video, a song called The Last shows how country-western music and self-identity played a role as an escape (and defense) from the dreary communist reality...part of the widespread "internal exile" practiced by many in their weekend houses and around their tramp settlement campfires.

1 comment:

bucko said...

Fantastic. Thanks for this! The Japanese fusion is very sweet and traditional, and Michal Tucny's country song has a sad, dark edge, like the 1970s bad boy country stars who could see taylor Swift coming...