Time for another Ask Jana…whereupon I get to gratuitously pretend to know things I don’t know, but I promise I am using an educated guess as best I can, fueled by my morning breakfast of cottage cheese spiked with green chile. (I suggest that any time you add one food item to another, you can use the term, “spiked.”) Here we go.
Can you explain to me the difference between Americana and Country music? – Dani
Whatever I say is probably going to tick off some ethnomusicologists and some diehard country fans and some diehard Americana fans and then maybe even some polka fans. (Deep breath). I personally think Americana doesn’t really have a textbook definition, because it’s a term that has risen in popularity over the past decade to describe anything slightly out of the mainstream that is not full on Nashville-ized country. Thanks to things like T Bone Burnett producing everyone cool and O Brother Where Art Thou?, Americana actually got put on the popular cool kids shelf for a minute, and it still resides there in some respects, although the term is easily watered down because EVERYONE uses it to describe their music. I think Americana at its core utilizes the traditions of music brought to America from other countries (reels and jigs from Ireland, polkas from Eastern Europe, the banjo from Africa, etc.) and molds them together. Appalachian music, bluegrass, and the blues are all derivatives of these immigrant traditions, and I think Americana smushes those genres together even more. They combined with the story-telling traditions of traditional country (or Country Western) and formed this giant all-encompassing genre called Americana. Country itself has some pretty defined parameters, thanks mostly to it residing in its mother home of Nashville for so long, and being tied to a commercial core. While country has adopted some traditions like Western swing, it’s a lot more uniform in its definition versus Americana. I hope even one sentence in this diatribe makes sense.
What’s the name of the guy who invented the zip tie and is he rich now? – John
According to Wikipedia, an electric company named Thomas and Betts invented them in 1958, so they are not that old. I’m not sure if Thomas or Betts got credit for it, or whether they had a bitter fight about it. I am assuming both of them were rich since they are on Wikipedia.
I want to know why all the parks are empty. – Jenny
I think parks are one of the essential elements in a civilized and happy society…national, state, and city. We all need nature. I’m sure there’s some study somewhere about open space and happiness. Plus all that oxygen the trees spit out (Note: Iamnotascientist). The odd turn of events is that often parks are creepy to go to alone because there are a lot of things like trees for bears and psychokillers to hide behind, so this might keep people out of parks. Thinking out loud.
Does it make sense to you that mermaids are half human/half fish? I mean really they should probably be half human/half whale, because you know, the whole mammal thing? – Jamie
Jamie, that is a very astute question that I have never thought about before…and no, it does not make sense. A couple of thoughts popped in my head. If we addressed the whale thing, number one no one wants to see a mermaid that big, and also, baleen is not as attractive on a girl mermaid as smaller teeth. Secondly, do not discount the magic. Mermaids are magic. They are pretty. They have shimmery scales. So how did mermaids come about? MAGIC. And sometimes…magic and logic don’t live in the same zip code.
What’s the color of the wind? – Jeff
Pocohontas even took this a step further in her feature length Disney movie and asked, “Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?” This tells me (because Disney clearly knows what they are talking about) that the wind is probably a rainbow of colors. However, when I think of wind in my brain, I’m pretty sure it’s a pale blue.
If the moon were made of cheese, would you eat it? Heck I would. I’d go back for seconds. – Taylor
If the moon came down here and kind of settled down for once and it was made of cheese, I would probably eat it. But the moon is still really far away and I don’t have the astrophysics skills to figure out how to get there, and Central Market has a pretty awesome cheese section, so I’m good.
Why is there no ‘religious left’? – Pam
Pam went political. I like it. My initial reaction is that there is, in that I know a lot of church-going Democrats. But Pam is right in that there is no unified political movement called the Religious Left. When I was getting my poli sci degree at UNM we did a pretty in-depth reading about how Karl Rove was responsible for mobilizing a LOT of conservative, church-going people with interesting tactics like…campaigning in churches (yes, for real!). Mobilizing that base to vote really upped GWB’s numbers. I think that because no one on the left has really made a whole movement out of mobilizing a certain religious group, no one’s defined the religious left. Fascinating.
At what age were you able to correctly spell…Albuquerque??? – Craig
I am not sure…I remember using “ALB” and “ABQ” a lot, but if you chant it, it comes out pretty easily. A-L-B-U-Q-U-E-R-Q-U-E.
What brings tears to your eyes? Any recent examples? – Jon
Well, I am helping out with a thing called Soldiers, Songs and Voices at the Bugle Boy in La Grange, where veterans (of any war but focusing on newly returned vets who are trying to re-acclimate) can come twice a month for free guitar lessons and songwriting classes. The organization provides free guitars for the vets and local songwriters are volunteering their time to meet with them. We had a training session last weekend and listening to the things soldiers face when they are in the service and when they return back to “normal” life definitely made me tear up. Here is the website for more information on the program.
How did you get to work with Rubicon music and Daniel? What was that journey like and how you are inspired by it today. – Le
This question is so good it gets its own post, forthcoming!
Do you feel that your great musical talent is a product of the genes from the Pochop or the Woods family? I am betting on the Woods side because I am almost certain that your uncles in Kansas gave all their music ability to you because they can’t even carry a tune in a bucket. Uncle Dave thinks you got most of his musical ability but he considers himself a good tenor because he sounds pretty good ten or twelve miles away. – Linda
This question is from my awesome Aunt Linda, and as you can tell, I come from a long line of characters on both sides of the family. I’m not sure where the musical gene came from, but I think there must be a procrastination gene in there too because I practiced guitar so much to avoid doing things like chores and homework, so there’s that.
If you didn’t end up as JPO the Super Merch chick, amazing folk troubadour and all round renaissance lady….who else may you have been? – Zach
Why thank you, Zach. Flattery gets you everywhere. I think had I not moved to Austin to fumble around for a while, I would have gone to UNM to get a Masters degree in History, which probably would have lead to a PhD in History, which would probably mean I’d still be there, a grizzled, jaded grad student obsessed with commune culture in 1960’s New Mexico. Yep. It’s better this way.
What does the “permanent press” setting on washing machines really do? – James
I smell a class action lawsuit, because I can guarantee millions of people have used that setting and not one of their articles of clothing has remained “permanently pressed.”
When will we ever grow up? – Leilani
I hope we don’t. I mean, I hope we all become financially solvent working members of society, but in terms of selling out to any sort of “here’s what everyone else did” mentality, I hope we don’t.
What is one hour martinizing anyway? – Corey
Man. The only thing I can think of is that is has something to do with Martin Guitars, Martin Sheen, Martina McBride, or Lockheed Martin?
How can a brown cow give white milk when she only eats green grass? – Brid
All from a PINK STOMACH! I tell you what, though…if you squish all the colors of the rainbow together you get white. Or is that black? No one would drink black milk, though.
1) What is your favorite coffee? 2) Red, green or Christmas? – Christina
I finally finally have a favorite type of coffee. Before I always just kind of drank what was around or on sale. This is still oftentimes the case, but at home I buy Seattle’s Best Number 4. Number 4 is awesome, and when they are out at Target and I have to get something else, I can tell the difference and I regret it. It’s flavorful but smooth, and not burny. Starbucks is great but there’s that often screamed “THEY BURN THEIR BEANS!” which…whatever. I don’t think the biggest coffee company in the world is burning their beans, but perhaps they roast them to a different degree than some folks like.
Also my rule of thumb is chicken = green, pork and beef = red, breakfast = Christmas. Yummo.
Should white people boycott The Cracker Barrel? – John
Yes, but not for the reason you think. Cracker Barrel actually keeps white people white and doughy because of the amount of whiteness in their food. I had a meal there a while back that contained: a biscuit, grits, gravy, and potatoes. That’s a lot of white to be rolling out on one plate. It was a youthful indiscretion and I am sorry. (Note: I like Cracker Barrel, I really do).