I realize that this isn’t quite the affirmation it may have been a few months back, but what the heck, it’s high time I came out and made it completely clear—I love country music.
Now, before you immediately brand me as some sort of updated John Travolta-less version of “Urban Cowboy” or some sort of wannabe redneck I should probably make a few things very clear to help defend my stance.
First and foremost, it’s not my fault. I grew up on country music. Anyone who lived in the boondocks knows what I’m talking about. We had a total of five stations we could get growing up. Three were various incarnations of country music. One was classic rock. The final option came out of Sioux City and could only really be picked up on clear days. They switched formats from weird fluffy light rock to hard rock to top 40 to rap to R&B and like eighteen other different manifestations in between.
By the time I’d hit high school the options had increased exponentially but everyone had CD players in their cars so the radio had become a non-entity anyway. The only thing is, by that point, it was already ingrained in my subconscious. Every restaurant you went into was playing country music. Damn near every store you went into was playing country music. Everyone’s grandma and grandpa always had the ole “transistor” tuned into some classic country. But for me, the clincher was my Pappy. Every morning I’d wake up to Pappy listening to 107.7 blasting out of Spencer, Iowa, so that he could hear the morning markets and get the most accurate weather before he headed out to work. As a result, many of my pre-waking dreams had a soundtrack filled with Garth Brooks, Alabama and Brooks & Dunn.
You can’t escape that type of infiltration no matter how far you run from home!
Second, I’m not one of these big-city weekend warrior types who decided it’d be fun to be one of those chic ironic-rednecks the first time Ashton Kutcher wore a John Deere hat on the red carpet. No, while those folks were running out to Starbucks to purchase the latest “Rascall Flatts” CD and get their country-on, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’d already been immersed in twang long enough to fend off any Billy-Bob Come-Lately poser.
Me, I’m actually from a farm. I’ve driven a tractor, a skid-loader, a combine and a whole mess of pick-up trucks. I’ve been knee deep in big ole stinky piles of excrement ranging from bovine to swine. My house has always had John Deere hats scattered all about, the kind handed out by seed dealers and at tractor expos. Not the kind printed by Abercrombie and Fitch.
Don’t get me wrong here I’m not claiming to be some cowboy who grew up at the Long Horn Ranch…not by any means. We raised pigs and grew some sweet-corn. I helped my dad and uncles with all-kinds of farm chores when I was a youngster. I’ve bailed some hay. I’ve sprayed some fields. I’ve de-tasseled some corn. I’ve given shots to pigs that were half my size and wrangled run-away cows that were five times my size.
So although I’m not a full-blooded cowboy, I think the redneck count in my hemoglobin is just high enough to allow for some songs about dead dogs and cheatin’ wives.
Thirdly, it’s not like I’m a music snob who just listens to country music. Ask anyone who’s ever ridden in my car and listened to my horrendous mixed CDs. I can’t tell you how many different conversations I’ve had that went like this…
“Hey Jeremiah, your driving is impeccable, and is that the new Nickelback?”
“Why yes…yes it is.”
“Wait, is that R Kelly?”
“…and now some Martina McBride?! What the hell?!”
“What?! It’s a mixed CD…a very mixed CD.”
“But none of this shit goes together.”
“But I like it…”
“Oh my God is this Hanson?! I’m getting out…”
“Don’t jump, we’re still moving!!”
Needless to say, my music tends to fall all over the map.
With all of those points made, I think it’s safe to assume that all ya’ll will withhold any negative judgment against me for loving what is generally a publicly-disparaged musical genre. It is with that thought in mind that I want to go ahead and thank you, my friends and Faithful Readers, for being kind with your disdain for country music.
PS: If none of that was reason enough for you to understand why I love country music let me try to explain it to you this way…Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Shania Twain and Taylor Swift. *BAM* Point made!!