I love the genres of punk and country music and yet it completely baffles me that so many kids who are into punk have absolutely no love for country. Three chords. Hell-raising. Personal demons. Working-class music. There's no two genres that could be more similar. And as far as rebellion goes, I'll put country music artists up against any genre of music around. And I'm not talking about the Taylor Swifts or the Kenny Chesneys.
In the early days, country music was defined by the honky tonk sound of Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Jimmie Rodgers, etc. up until the 1970's when Nashville began to crank out a more pop, radio-friendly sound that still dominates the airwaves and continues to alienate country music fans to this day. Those who refused to play by Nashville's rules were known as "outlaws" and included names like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Jennings, more than anyone else, epitomized the movement as he was the first to battle Nashville and actually win creative control over his recordings.
2010 will see the release of the film Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges about a country singer in the "outlaw country" mold which I hope will shed more light on the true nature of country music instead of the garbage that is played on the radio. The soundtrack for this film includes: Billy Joe Shaver, Townes Van Zandt, the Louvin Brothers, Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings, etc. With those names, the Crazy Heart soundtrack could quite possibly be the greatest country music soundtrack in the history of film.