Our East Nashville friends Doug and Telisha Williams showcased their relatively new Americana trio The Wild Ponies this week at Roots and in doing so offered some food for thought. I loved their song “Things That Used To Shine,” which plumbs the appreciating value of once-bright and new objects that have lost their superficial luster, like leather boots and favorite records and a grandfather’s eyes. Then Doug sang lead on a true-story song about a short-track stock car driver from the early 1960s. And that got me thinking about things that used be less shiny than they are today but worse off for the change, like NASCAR and country music. The cars shine. The singers’ teeth shine. The singers’ cars shine, as does their money. But all for meh? Why did forces bigger than us seize control of stuff that used to be done by real people with all their individuality and folkways and transform it into something slick and polished, managed by corporations? How did they so easily make off with so much of our collective soul?