My friend Charles is in his mid-50’s and grew up in Flatbush Brooklyn. You can hear it in his voice. People who are connoisseurs of Brooklyn accents swear they can tell the difference between Flatbush and Bensonhurst, or many of the other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. But this only works when listening to people Charles’ age and older. These communities with specific accents in Brooklyn are largely gone. White flight to the suburbs and the general homogenization of American culture has made regional differences disappear, or even differences between subway lines in New York. But in people like Charles, you can still hear these lost cultures in his voice.
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock were born in the mid 40’s and grew up in Lubbock. You can hear it in their voices. People who are connoisseurs of West Texas accents swear they can tell the difference between Lubbock and Midland. People who are connoisseurs of Texas Music and Texas singer/songwriters can hear the vestiges of a lost culture also. The remoteness that produced so many great Texas artists has disappeared. Texas has transitioned into mostly a suburban state. The homogenization of country music into Nashville pop and Texas music into Pat Green style hyperbole has made regional Texas voices disappear. Continue reading