When I was younger, and right up through college, I was sure I hated country music. Of course, when the only stuff you've heard is glossy wannabe rock mainstream country music, you get the wrong impression of what country music is, or at least, was and can be.
Old-time country, even as recent as the 1970s, wasn't so glossy and was much more of a down-home, back porch feel and not a "listen to this in the shiny new pick-up on the way back from the Wal-Mart" feel. It didn't take itself so seriously, it had nothing to prove, and it felt more organic. Knowing that now, I can embrace those qualities when I find them again in country music. Most recently, I've really enjoyed the music of the young, all-female band Those Darlins.
Those Darlins are a Tennessee trio of girls from a college town that are embracing their roots and bringing all the bar-room grit and fun of older country back to a younger crowd. With songs like "Whole Damn Thing" (a personal favorite) where they sing about getting drunk and eating a whole chicken, you can hardly say they take themselves too seriously, and the 3 voices seems to just invite people to join in and make it a sing-along, as if the whole bar might just break out into some country classic.
Those Darlins' debut self-titled album is set for release next week. In the meantime, there are two places on the web where you can get a free mp3 download of their music. If you go to their website and sign up for their mailing list you will receive a free download of their song "Wild One", and if you go to the Paste Magazine site they offer a download of their song "Red Light Love". They are certainly one of the new discoveries I am most excited about.