If you have started reading this, it means you got past the title, and therefore I might have a chance of changing your opinion. So hear me out. When people summarize their favorite music, a common answer I hear is, “Anything but country.” Well, I think it’s time to change that unfair prejudice against country music, by focusing on the aspect of the genre that doesn’t fall under the my-wife-left-me-and-my-dog-died umbrella.
I used to be one of those people who scoffed at country music. It wasn’t because of unfamiliarity, born and raised in Virginia, I heard my fair share of those swooners born below the Mason-Dixon line. I did not necessarily dislike the genre, but it definitely was not my favorite. That all changed, when during my senior year of college, I lived with two girls who listened almost exclusively to country artists. Despite my kicking and screaming, by graduation, I had cultivated an appreciation for their favorite songs, and there was no turning back.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are aspects of some songs that I do not agree with, such as jingoism and bigotry. I will not name any specifics here, but when certain songs start playing on the country radio station, I have to change the channel. However, I want to stress that not all country music is about those topics. The genre appeals to me because many of the songs focus on the simple aspects of life (not as cliche as that might sound), and there actually are great musicians who inhabit the realm of country.
I dare you to listen to Zac Brown Band’s ‘Knee Deep’ and not wish you were on a tropical beach with a cold drink, without a care in the world. In my opinion, Jennifer Nettles of the band Sugarland has one of the best voices out there, and most of their songs are worth a listen. Anyone who has experienced a night where they drank a little too much can chuckle at the lyrics of Brad Paisley’s ‘Alcohol’. We get some ideas for excessive repercussions against a straying boyfriend in ‘Before He Cheats’ and Carrie Underwood instills us with a little bit of girl power. Don’t even get me started on Josh Turner’s irresistible baritone in ‘Would You Go With Me’. George Strait’s ‘Here For A Good Time’ is all about living in the moment and not sweating the small stuff. Hootie and the Blowfish fans will appreciate Darius Rucker’s solo stylings. And I think we can all dance to Shania Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’.
These are just a few examples of the (mostly recent) songs and artists that have forced their way into my heart. I haven’t even scratched the surface of some of the older tried and true classics. Just like any other genre, country music has a rich history of changes in sound and style over the years, from Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift. My hope is that you will give at least one of them a chance, and maybe add a few of these songs to your rotation.
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