The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Music Picks

Porter Wagoner Is Back

His country music was subversive then and now.

By Adrian Mack 14 Jun 2007 | TheTyee.ca

Adrian Mack is a Vancouver-based musician and writer. When he's not busy practicing, writing, editing, raising his kid and being a devoted husband, he's wondering how anybody could find the time to blog.

image atom
Syrupy Nashville cliché, and talented rootsy hillbilly.

Porter Wagoner is a weirdo, even by country music standards. Looking like a Swedish Fred Gwynne with all the air sucked out, Wagoner was so long and tall that he probably had to climb on a stool just to fix his hair (with Testor's non-toxic plastic cement, by the looks of things).

Most of us remember Wagoner, of course, from his TV series in the '70s: The Porter Wagoner Show, in which he wore Nudie suits of such blinding gaudiness that it seemed to make your television vibrate. Through the show, he brought Dolly Parton to the world, and then threw public hissy fits when her solo career soared. For some, he embodied the syrupy Nashville formula that came to blight country music's proud roots, and symbolized the industry's conservative mindset at its most depressingly entrenched. He was certainly no outlaw.

But others knew that behind the Nashville stereotype, Wagoner had firm roots in the pioneer country music of the '50s. On top of that, he was also gutsy and eccentric enough to release oddball projects like 1972's What Ain't to Be, Just Might Happen, an album that is basically insane (in a good way).

Among those who were hip to Wagoner's breadth and quality as a performer were the Byrds, who covered his "A Satisfied Mind" as early as 1965, shortly before a handful of cosmic freaks and longhairs would seize LA's fabled Troubadour club (known as the place to catch bands just before they made it big), as a venue for their own experiments with hillbilly music. In the acid-rock climate of the time, with country on the right and a new, switched-on generation to the left, the perversity of such an enterprise cannot be underestimated.

Forty years later, in what would appear to be a similarly counter-intuitive move, the business-minded punks behind the ANTI- label have resurrected "the Wag" (I'm hoping I just coined that nickname) for an unreasonably strong collection of straight-up, honky-tonk shit-kickers called Wagonmaster, which has been smartly designed by producer Marty Stuart to reflect the first and purest decade of Wagoner's three score years in the business.

But the reason we're here, kiddies, is this.

"Committed to Parkview" is being heavily billed as the belated sequel to Wagoner's "The Rubber Room," the most gonzo of all the tracks on What Ain't to Be. If this is your first encounter with the exquisitely outré delights of "The Rubber Room," then I envy you -- although the relatively sober tone of the newer song has changed the meaning of the first for me, given that both were produced in the midst of shady, dishonest and disastrous military adventures.

It's a leap, I know, but art ain't created in a vacuum, and country music has long struggled to maintain an untenable moral rectitude on the surface, as a popular expression of America's fabled decency. Which is why it always blows up so spectacularly.

Perhaps, with "Committed to Parkview," the 80-year-old Wagoner can't bring himself to make a novelty out of madness anymore, when he's finally seen too much of it. The album as a whole takes him back to his roots, while the driest track of the bunch quietly repudiates the dishonesty of its forebear.

Wagoner sounds weary, sad and eminently sane on "Parkview." In fact, looking at this again, I'd say the only person who should be committed is Marty Stuart's hairdresser, judging by his appearance at the end of the "Parkview" video.

Related Tyee stories:

 [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Have You Relocated During the Pandemic?

Take this week's poll