I don’t exactly fit the stereotype of a country music fan, but I don’t exactly NOT fit it, either. I don’t drive a truck, I don’t wear a cowboy hat, I don’t have a blue collar job, and I don’t chew tobacco. However, I am from the south, I do occasionally wear boots, I do drink beer, I’ve been known to make friends with my red solo cups, and I can pull out my inner Redneck Woman when necessary (especially when I have road rage.)
I grew up in the south to an eclectic soundtrack, but country music was prominently featured. My grandmother had the old greats playing consistently on her kitchen radio and my dad played Alabama, the Oak Ridge Boys, and John Denver on his guitar. I particularly remember loving that Kenny Rogers album when it came out, and the women my mother’s age LOVED him, too. Country music wasn’t as polished in the 70s as it is now, but I did love Hee Haw and the Barbara Mandrell show as much as I loved Solid Gold, American Bandstand, and Soul Train. I think once I discovered Madonna, Boy George, and George Michael, I took a country break, but eventually found my way back.
Now that I’m older, country music has become my mainstay. I still love all kinds of music, but I’ve realize that country music is what I’m willing to spend money on. And recently I was wondering, why? What is the connection that keeps me listening?
Well, first, as I said above, it reminds me of my childhood. It is comforting and represents home. Whatever music you grew up with, be it R&B, hip-hop, top 40, or polka music, that is your childhood soundtrack and you’re going to associate it with those memories.
I also love the twangy sound, the slide guitar, and most of all, the fiddle. Immediately, when you hear that sound, you know it’s country. There is nothing hotter than a woman playing a fiddle well…one of my life’s regrets is that I was never her!
Of course, I love the stories in the songs. I will forever associate some of these stories with a certain period of my life: Shania Twain’s fun album with post-college years, Sugarland’s songs about bills piling up with when we were laid off, and Trisha Yearwood’s song about Katie and Tommy with when I was getting married. They strike a chord, literally, with our hearts and we hold them there until we hear the song again. It takes us back right, whether we’re in the car, the elevator, or Publix. (see Kenny Chesney, he knows what I’m talking about):
Country music is there for you during the highs and the lows, whether you’re partying or you’re crying; whether it’s five o’clock somewhere, or you were drunk the day your mama got out of prison. 🙂 I have to admit, I do not enjoy the nostalgia songs about “hey, it was so much better back then when we drank out of hoses and made fun of gay people.” Okay, that’s not really a song, but you know what I mean. I also don’t like it when songs try to exclude people who AREN’T the country stereotype, because, well, I don’t fit in that. I do enjoy the recent songs that have paired country music with rap/hip-hop. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Stereotypically white music and stereotypically black music coming together — super cool. I also think the artists are trying to bring people together. I heard about that professional athlete/idiot who got thrown out of a country show for using racial slurs, but I think mostly music does bring people together…just look at the photos of the Georgia Dome last weekend:
I wrote one song, a country song, once, and it was titled after something my grandmother used to say: “Ain’t Nothin’ Quick, Easy, or Cheap,” and it’s premise was that although she was a wise woman, she had never met my DB boyfriend. That’s funny, right? Well, it was to the tune of Eric Clapton’s “Before You Accuse Me” and I had a ball writing it, but I don’t think it’s my One Hit Wonder just yet. Although, Miranda or Carrie, if you are reading this, let’s talk!
I just really love country music, but it’s okay if you don’t. What music speaks to you, and why? I’d love to know, so feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for reading. Take care of yourselves and each other,