Why Country?

You might ask me why I’m so obsessed with country music.  The truth is, I don’t have a good answer.  Since the first day I heard mainstream country music during my freshman year of college, I haven’t stopped listening to it.  To me, country music is universal…it’s extensive and impactful, it’s present and also timeless.  No matter where you are or what you’re feeling, there’s a country tune out there that will speak directly to you.  If you’re already a country fan, I think you’d agree with me.

If you’re not, it’s possible you think country is all beers, jeans, and trucks, right?  Well you’re right, a lot of it is.  But for every stereotype-enducing song that exists there are also dozens that are gripping, profound, and everlasting.  Lyrical and tangible on so many levels.  Songs that are about relationships, heartbreak, hard work, family & friends, nostalgia, and so on.  And yes, while some songs are strictly about partying and having fun, isn’t that like life as well?  Who doesn’t want to have some fun once in a while?  There’s no doubt that hard work pays off, but there’s nothing better than kicking back on occasion. For you, that might include cracking a cold one in front of the TV, or maybe throwing on a new outfit and going to the local bar.  No?  Maybe you enjoy just going for a stroll, suiting up for a flag football game, or just throwing the car in drive and cruising down the highway.  No matter what you’re doing to take it easy, there are country singers and songwriters out there doing the exact same thing.  And I guarantee they’ve written songs about it.

But, if you’re still not convinced that country songs go beyond generic themes like alcohol and cars, I’ve made a short list of counterexamples.  Check ’em out!

  1.  “All country songs are about Miller Lite and Jack Daniels”.  Listen to Family Table by Zac Brown Band, where the only things consumed are coffee and home-cooked meals.
  2. “All country songs are about driving in trucks with girls.”  Press play on a George Strait classic, I Saw God Today.  George isn’t driving his Chevy Silverado around with his girlfriend, but instead, taking a stroll down a sidewalk thinking about his brand new baby girl.
  3. “All country songs are written and sung by people from the South, so I can’t relate.” Lori McKenna is one of the best songwriters in country music today, and she’s a wife and the mother of five children currently living in the Boston area.  And yes, she’s from Boston, too. She recently penned the song Humble and Kind, made famous by Tim McGraw.  Or maybe you’ve heard a few songs written by Chris DeStefano, who is one of Nashville’s most successful songwriters of this decade, but hails from the Philadelphia suburb of Mt. Laurel, NJ.
  4. “All country songs talk about working on a farm in jeans and cowboy boots.” One of the hottest bands in the Nashville scene right now, Little Big Town, has countless tunes about summertime and having fun in the water.  They leave the pigs, dirt, and tractors in the dust.  Sit back and relax with one of their earlier hits, Pontoon.

The list goes on and on, but for every valid example of a stereotypical country song, there will be countless others that are more moving, more unique, and more relatable.

So, if you like what you’re hearing, keep tuning in!  Check out the “Monday Heroes” and “Friday Finds” pages for blog info on the new artists I’ll be talking about each week.  Or, jump right in to some of the playlists [(Almost) Sunny And 75, Snow Day – OK, In Love With Country) that I’ve been putting together for holidays and occasions.

If you didn’t like what you heard, or still think country music is pointless and superficial, no sweat!  Tune in anyway and you can keep listening to me ramble on about nonsense.  🙂

– R&B