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the word "a" in country music

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by davidge1, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2006
    I'm going ask a really stupid question, but it's something I've always wondered about. Why do country singers give an often incorrect long vowel pronunciation to the word "a" when singing? No one (not even in the south) does that when speaking. Are they trying to sound like they're illiterate and reading it off a sheet of paper?... and that somehow makes them sound more folksy?

    "Im just ay country boy"... etc

  2. tintag27

    tintag27 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    Macclesfield, UK
    Certainly some of the time it is an affectation... (like some of our own UK singers who sing like they were born in Texas :0)
    But a lot of lyrics (like poetry) have to be twisted to fit the meter better - that's acceptable artistic licence -
    'bless-ed are the peacemakers...' just scans better than 'blessed are the peacemakers'...
    RoscoeElegante likes this.

  3. Downshift

    Downshift Tele-Holic

    Jan 16, 2006
    99% of modern country singers don't have a southern accent. Its a sales ploy, and the "ay" you're noticing is created by someone who doesn't know any better.
    Uncle Bob likes this.

  4. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Sep 24, 2004
    Endicott, NY
    Sometimes it just sounds better as part of a song lyric. Maybe rhythmically...whatever.
    Not always, but sometimes lyrics just work that way.

    Nothing nefarious - or ignorant - about it.

    And it isn't limited to country music, either.
    tintag27 likes this.

  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    I hate that fake twang so prevalent in all modern country music.
    Keith Urban is like, Canadian, right? It's all so fake and plastic
    Johnny Cash didn't sing like that

    Dwight Yoakam gets a pass
    nojazzhere likes this.

  6. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Tele-Meister

    Mar 5, 2017
    West Virginia
    Even better, he's Australian.

    ETA: Born in New Zealand.

  7. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    Most literate people know that both pronunciations are accepted as proper. Some literate people aren't smart enough to know that.

    For example:

    *Ay* country singer is on my lawn.

    I do not want *uh* country singer on my lawn.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017

  8. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Sep 24, 2004
    Endicott, NY
    I don't listen to much modern country, but here's an example of what I was talking about:

    If you take the line, "I am just 'ay' country boy...."
    and sing it as, "I am just 'uh' country boy...."
    somehow it just doesn't sound right.

    There are probably a lot more examples of the "ay" being used badly, but I'm not going to go look for them. :)
    Steve Ouimette likes this.

  9. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

    May 1, 2017
    Denver, CO
    "December seventh, nineteen forty-one, ay date which will live in infamy...


    I think they're emulating FDR :)
    OlRedNeckHippy and nojazzhere like this.

  10. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ

  11. Muku

    Muku Tele-Meister

    Jun 9, 2008
    Santa Barbara
    You got sumthin gainst us Southeners?

  12. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

    Nov 13, 2006
    You're right, it's not incorrect... but it's not how people speak and it doesn't sound natural to me. I've just never heard anyone but country singers do that... and they do it often. I was just wondering... I love and play old country music.

    Definitely don't have anything against southerners – I live further south than Santa Barbara myself. :)

  13. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    You should get out more often.

  14. Brokenpick

    Brokenpick Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 29, 2008
    It's uh long way to Harlan it's uh long way to Hazard

  15. Steve Ouimette

    Steve Ouimette Tele-Holic

    Aug 17, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Albert can say "A" anyway he wants the way he plays. It's always interesting to me that many British singers sound American when they sing.
    crossroader and moosie like this.

  16. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 12, 2012
    South Jersey
    Marshal Tucker Band's song Fire On the Mountain is similar in that he construes the syllables.
    "Fire on the moun ton, lighting in the air.....

  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Albert sings? Who cares? I was much more interested in the playing.

    But yeah, in that song, there's two beats given to that one syllable word. Gotta stretch it out a bit.
    crossroader likes this.

  18. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    May 9, 2005
    A lot of similar types of liberties are taken in rock music, soul etc. A very common one is the phrase “I don’t need no”, or “I don’t need nobody to tell me...”. The proper grammar in these instances is “any” or “anybody”, but no one ever says that because it doesn’t sing as well.

  19. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 14, 2013
    drawl is a natural thing, it's where English wants to go, naturally

    fighting it is rearguard action

    y'all'll be assimilated eventually, even Oxbridge

  20. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Friend of Leo's

    Oct 30, 2017
    I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to learn to sing. One of the things I've found out about us vowel substitutions. It is often necessary to slightly mispronounce a vowel sound while singing so that the next sound is easier to get out smoothly. Or to come off the last sound easily.

    I'm not saying this is the case but it may be.
    ac15 likes this.

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