WHY CANADIAN COUNTRY PERFORMERS SING IN A SOUTHERN TWANG

Shifting identities and unconscious impulse to mirror speech patterns behind affected accents, prof says

Aaron Pritchett, left, and Shaela Miller, right, are two Canadian country singers who sing with southern U.S. accents. (Submitted by Anya Wilson, Shaela Miller)

Lethbridge-based country singer Shaela Miller strummed her guitar and struggled with a strange request: to sing the lyrics from one of her songs in her own Canadian accent, and without a southern U.S. twang.

“I woke up/In my bed/With a loud, loud ringin’ in my head…”

Miller sang the lines unaccompanied by the lilt in her voice that usually drawls words like bed and head until she stopped, laughing.

“I can’t do it, it just — I couldn’t even sing it. I would have to sit down and really think of this song in a different style of music.”

Miller said that twang is because of influences that include singers like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. Her own songs just wouldn’t sound right without it.

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