Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Country Music and Me!

My old sound system certainly wouldn't have won any awards in a Stereo Beauty Contest.
A black and silver Panasonic monstrosity, it was the kind of thing that even looked incongruous in the 80's, despite being designed then! You get the picture right?

However ugly, I remember that stereo because it was my first encounter with country music.

There was a channel which I used to find when I turned the tuning knob by painstakingly tiny degrees, often all the way up the red line and then all the way back down again, until I found something that sounded like country!
I don't know what the channel or the program was, but when I first heard the music, something in me simultneously leapt up and lay down, with the happy comfort of a joyful reunion. Somehow I was 'found' by country music. It made sense of something innate but unknown and it still does that.

Ok... so country doesn't get you a lot of street cred around here and it's just not cool for someone my age, though perhaps now I'm getting on a bit it will become more accepetable! Either way, I'm coming out of the genre closet and admitting to my passion for all things country! Big American trucks (for any Kendel Carson fans!) prairies, Stetson hats, ranches, the mid West, Nashville, guitars on backs, boots, harps, checked shirts, pick up trucks... Admittedly, my American Dream isn't quite the traditional one but...
(We've all got to have a dream though right? One day I'll...)

Country music gets a raw deal. It is stereotyped and ridiculed mercilessly by most people under the age of 30 and although it has made some appearances in the mainstream charts in recent years (think Shania Twain and, more recently, Taylor Swift) it is still the butt of most music jokes - You've all heard the one about what happens when you play a country record backwards...)
Bizarrely, it has even been suggested that country music is somewhat dangerous inasmuch as there have been studies which have tried to prove a correlation between listening to country music and suicide! (Steven Stack and Jim Gundlach were the men responsible for this strange idea!)

I don't think there is a way to describe it, but country often picks me up from the grey and places me on a sunbeaten dirt track with the smell of hot grasses and the sense that the world is bigger and wider and more beautiful than I can see right now.

Perhaps it's the spirituality that seems to be carried up the roots and into the core of country, I'm not sure, but it's my kind of music and in some strange way, it gives me hope like nothing else on earth.
Country music lacks pretension. It's real... about real life and real people. It is a lot about love and relationships. God, working hard, drinking hard and family life are all themes and they are written honestly and without ambiguity.
I like the way that country takes a little of our secret hopes and our inner values and makes them real.

I love it that Dierks Bentley once said that "country music has always been the best shrink that fifteen bucks can buy" (!!) because it sums it up so beautifully! Country music ministers to the broken parts and advises the longings. It will sit with your grief and pain but it will also offer light and hope. It's message is that no matter how bad it gets, you will make it in the end.


  1. Hi -
    I love some country music, not all. I love some rock, not all, I love some folk music, not all. and so forth. :-) I do really enjoy Faith Hill and Johnny Cash. And many others in the country genre. I play the drums!! And my husband is a wonderful guitarist, pianist, singer & songwriter. Music is our passion.

    Love Gail

  2. Interesting. I have had moments in my life where I enjoyed Country music and times like now where it all starts sounding the same. Depends on where I am at emotionally and physically in my life. By physical I mean that one time I live in an area where there was only one pop music station, everything else was country, learned to like it by exclusion when I lived there.

  3. I'm not a county music fan myself other than a few songs. I like soft rock but isn't that what we're all about - different, - it's what makes the world go round and I'm glad for you that you found something in Country Music that touches you in the way it does.

  4. Lovely to learn a little more about you guys.

    Music is possibly the one thing I don't think I could live without. It breaks a code in me and transmits an interpretation to a part of me that exists but is not really conscious.
    Not sure how much sense that makes but the music lovers should get it..!