Why I Love Country Music

Evening Rails

True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt.
– Garth Brooks

It has to be said: I freakin’ love country music. Always have, always will. I can pinpoint my gateway song to the genre: Rascal Flatts’ Bless the Broken Road. And from that point on, it was true love. From my eye candy man Luke Bryan to the classic George Strait, it is my go to genre when I need to cry, smile, or turn a broken heart into a happy one.

It always surprises people when they find out how much I listen to country music. I didn’t grow up in a small town; I never rode around on a tractor, never had any desire to romp around in the mud. But then again, those are the clichés of country, aren’t they? There is so much more to this genre of music than meets the eye. Journey with me and look beyond the honky-tonks, the moonshine, those tailgates and tan lines, and Taylor Swift.

For one, every song throughout country music tells a tale. Whether it’s a story about family, about love lost or love found or love renewed, death, the ‘what ifs’ or the ‘what could have beens’ or ‘what should have beens,’ or friendships – country music causes you to become invested in the song on an emotional, spiritual, and intellectual level. It’s been over four years since Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss released Whiskey Lullaby, but to this day, when I listen to that song, I will cry – and it’s not like I can necessarily relate to the situation (obviously, I’ve had my heart broken, and broken bad), but the pain that those two sing about makes me crumble into a bunch of tiny, melodic pieces. Every. Damn. Time. Each song in country music has its own set of characters; a cast of individuals going through conflict, heartache, marriage, relationships, one night stands – essentially, there is something for everyone in country music. It is extremely relatable. Try listening to something like Lil Wayne’s A Milli and tell me if you can make any sense of the gibberish he has tried to call music. The day you can come to grips with the term “pussy poppin’” is the day the music truly has died.

In relation to my first point, with each story comes a tug at the heartstrings. A majority of country songs are tremendously emotional. And just like the stories, the emotions range from that rock bottom kind of sadness to that can’t breathe kind of falling in love to even the cleverest of pick up lines. Give me another genre of music that is as descriptive as country. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to other genres of music in the least – my taste in music has no limitations (well, except for Lil Wayne, but really, I have never come across a true fan of his). But, because I’m a writer, I tend to side with those in favor of adjectives. Those like Dierks Bently:

Becky was a beauty from south Alabama, her daddy had a heart like a nine-pound hammer.
What Was I Thinkin’

Holy analogy, Batman. I swear, country music songwriters can compose with the best of them.

And I have to point out, country music is not only for conservatives. I’m as liberal as they come, and so are many country artists. Didn’t anyone hear about that showdown between President George W. Bush and the Dixie Chicks? Rifles and war aren’t always the answer.

Apart from the heavy emotional aspects of country music, a lot of it is just fun. The melodies and harmonies behind country songs are extremely freeing.

She’s got the pedal to the floor in a hand-me-down Ford, yeah the only thing that’s left to do is catch a couple green lights and those baby blue eyes are leaving nothing in that rearview.
Dust, Eli Young Band

They have allowed me to fantasize about dancing under the stars, driving in a Red Camaro with the top down, and I always Play It Again. It is the genre that dominates the summertime; the times where the tunes are carried into the wind from the heat of a backyard grill, when a boy meets a girl at a bonfire party on the beach and the waves emanate the crashing and the colliding of two hearts, and all of the memories that we leave scattered, afraid to pick up and put away again for fear of being forgotten.

I will say, as with just about everything in this world, there are certain aspects of country music I disagree with – there are a few select songs that go on about bigotry and are a tad too xenophobic for me, but on the whole, country is such a wholesome (see what I did there?) genre that it’s hard to go wrong.

And lastly, and this may be the most biased part of this entire post, country music holds so many of my most vivid and cherished memories. I can never listen to Drunk On You without thinking of a certain boy and how he would always turn it on whenever my face was scrunched up in madness or sadness purely because he knew it would get my face to scrunch up into a smile instead. I hear Hot in Here and can still feel the sexual tension that existed but was never played out. My first love, the kind that is so desperate and bittersweet, finds itself reawakened with Dancin’ Away With My Heart. No Hurry leads me to recall the beach, the sun, and my family.

For me, country music has involved itself in every fragment of my life. It’s bluegrass, it’s folksy, it is the moonshine, the tailgates, those tan lines, but it’s also everything in between.

Comments

  1. YESSSSSSSSS! I got into it about four years ago when someone made me a country CD. Bless the Broken Road was on there and now I’m kind of obsessed. No, I am. Rascal Flatts. Blake Shelton. Brad Paisley. Keith Urban. George Strait. Probably my favorites.

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