Country music is hypothesized to nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work. The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate. The effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun availability. The existence of a country music subculture is thought to reinforce the link between country music and suicide. Our model explains 51% of the variance in urban white suicide rates.”
Feel free to hypothesize in the comments. I’m not sure I buy the sub-culture explanation. Personally, many of my favorite sad songs are old country tunes. (I think it has something to do with the steel guitar, which is a uniquely mournful instrument.) After a few Hank Williams’ songs, I’m ready for some anti-depressants.
PS. Conner Oberst, of Bright Eyes, wrote about the connection between country music and suicide on his latest album, Cassadega. These lyrics are from the track “Classic Cars,” which features the lovely voice of Gillian Welch, who has written many fine songs that also make me sad:
She was a real royal lady, true patron of the arts/
She said the best country singers die in the back of classic cars/
So if I ever got too hungry for a suitcase or guitar/
To think of them all alone in the dark