Thursday, November 14, 2013

"My Life's Been a Country Song"

I’m always proud to assert that I’m a country girl—born and raised. Right along with that, comes the fact that country music was my first love—and although I have flings on the side with other genres, it will always have my heart. Growing up in a town without even a single stoplight, no one seemed to question my love. However, now that I live in the “big city” of Albuquerque, I catch more flack for loving country than anyone should.

So, the simple question that I always have to answer is:  “Why do you like country?” Of course, this is usually followed up by a snarky statement like:  “It’s just about drinking and sad stuff.”

Sure, there are those. Country music is definitely good if you’re depressed and need to cry it out.

Perfect example of this stereotypical thought (note—not a song I enjoy, but nonetheless):

Tear in My Beer - Hank Sr. and Hank Jr.

But, there is much more to the world of country music, and my love for it comes for many reasons.

1-We don’t hide our crazy. We know we’re crazy, and we embrace it. We name it and call it crazy. We go for it. While Rihanna may sing “that’s not fair” when someone calls her crazy, we realize that there’s no crazy like country crazy, and we own it!

Go to Hell - Casey Donahew Band

No Cure for Crazy - Kellie Pickler

Stripes - Brandy Clark

2-There’s depth to the feelings expressed. Country singers—the good ones anyway—don’t just say, “hey girl you lookin fine!” Instead, they work through the struggle of defining those feelings. In my opinion, there have never been truer expressions of genuine love than those of a good country song.

Sometimes, love lasts a lifetime
He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones

Carried Away - George Strait

Turn My World Around - Glorianna

I Hope You're the End of My Story - Pistol Annies

Oklahoma Sky - Miranda Lambert

Who I Am - Wade Bowen

3-Country songs can be encouraging and can remind us to chase our dreams. In fact, if you listen closely, you’ll hear this sentiment expressed by many country women singers.

I Was Here - Lady Antebellum

Pioneer - The Band Perry

Even If It Breaks Your Heart - Eli Young Band

4-They’re not afraid to sing about deeper things in life—whether that’s family, God, friends or something else.

Mother Like Mine - The Band Perry

Love Like Crazy - Lee Brice

House That Built Me - Miranda Lambert

I'm Gonna Love You Through It - Martina McBride

5-Much like the way country folks embrace their crazy, they also know how to deal with a breakup in style. What better way to do so than with a rocking song that inspires confidence?

Walking Away A Winner - Kathy Mattea

Red High Heels - Kellie Pickler

6-Most of us who lived in the country grew up learning how to hunt, ride, fight, etc. As a result, we don’t take much of a hard time from anyone. We aren’t afraid to fight back and stand up for ourselves, and country music expresses this frequently.

Gun Powder and Lead - Miranda Lambert

Independence Day - Martina McBride

We’re strong, and not afraid to tell you so
Country Strong - Gwyneth Paltrow (okay, so she's not entirely country....but I love this song)

7-Country music can be depressing. It truly can, and that’s one of the things that is so great about it. Many country artists aren’t afraid to express some really difficult emotions. Sometimes, heartaches don’t fade; sometimes we all need a good song to cry along with while we drive. That’s when these come in handy.

What Might Have Been - Little Texas

Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss

8-It gave me realistic expectations of love.

Unhappily Married - Pistol Annies

9-It reminds me that I’m not alone in my screw-ups, my hard times, and my occasional bad choices.

War on a Desperate Man - Eli Young Band

10-We do have our drinking songs, our dancing songs, and some that are just perfect to turn up the radio, roll down the windows, and belt out on a happy day!

Oklahoma Breakdown - Stoney Larue

Bad Example - Pistol Annies

Perfect Day - Lady Antebellum

Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks

I Just Wanna Dance With You - George Strait

I love country music for many reasons—because it is so complex. It’s music from a bunch of differnte types of people—many who were small town kids who have lived a life similar to the one I have. I like country, because they’re songs about my life. To quote a song I’ve always loved:

My Life’s Been A Country Song – Chris Cagle

Now I know how Merle Haggard felt when he sang the words mama tried
And I've lived those teenage
Friday nights the pyrmid of cans in the pale moon light
And that Summer Becky broke my heart
Alabama sang old flame burnin'
Well I've danced with George Strait
Drank with George Jones
My life's been a country song.

It's all about fallin' down and gettin' back up
Your good times and hard luck
True love and amazing grace
Workin' all week for a back ache
Raisin' caine, Friday nights, Sunday church to set it right
They can write it on my stone,
My life's been a country song.

Country music is about life, and perhaps my view is biased, because I grew up in boots and jeans. But, I’ll always love it and always defend my love.

To be fair, like any other genre, we have some awful songs that are devoid of anything of value—things like “Hey Girl,” and anything that involves Luke Bryan shaking anything or a Taylor Swift breakup. But, people of the world, stop being so hard on country and pigeonholing it as a simple genre of depressing drinking songs. It’s so much more than that. 

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