Country California

Country music. Seriously.

Sing It Purdy, Eliza Doolittle

I don’t speak like I write.

In fact, through all my years of formal schooling, I always sort of imagined myself as an elderly British man when I put pen to paper. All of a sudden, it became okay (and, as I thought, expected) to fancy things and throw out rathers and quites like the Queen of England. My older brothers, whose spoken and written vocabularies were built around words like “suck” and “gay” (the great all-purpose adjective when you’re eleven… or Taylor Swift), weren’t shy about giving me hell for my poofy prose. These days, my writing voice is more natural… slightly. It’s still not how I speak, though.

If I had any singing ability, I’m sure I wouldn’t sing like I talk (or write) either. And in that, I wouldn’t be alone. There are many singers whose voices and personalities change dramatically when they take the stage.

There’s Dwight Yoakam, who’s the definition of swagger and country cool onstage but an abstruse, rambling intellectual in conversation. There’s Alison Krauss, who sings with all the grace and elegance of an angel but talks like a bashful Midwestern housewife.* Of course, there are also folks like Keith Urban and Catherine Britt whose accents miraculously change (not disappear) when they step up to the microphone.

So, here’s the topic of the day:

Which other country performers don’t sing like they speak? Whose conversational voice/style would be most surprising to a fan who had only ever heard them sing?

* These examples are obviously based on the few interviews I’ve seen/heard, not firsthand knowledge. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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  1. I think Reba loses all her accent when she sings. But then again, I think she fakes 90% of that accent when she speaks by now …

  2. I’m actually kinda stumped — most artists talk pretty much like you’d expect them to. I guess people might be surprised at how erudite Darryl Worley is. He was a chemist!

  3. Which other country performers don’t sing like they speak?

    Jewel, for some reason, springs to mind.

  4. Darryl Worley was a chemist?

  5. Yup. He has a degree in organic chemistry and ran a chemical supply company. When he got his publishing deal, he quit the chemical business and took a huge pay cut.

  6. That’s pretty interesting. I never would have guessed.

  7. Kasey Chambers and her husband; they also have good Australian accents!

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