Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Dang Blasted Country Music

Of all the music genres out there, country music ranked right down there with atonal modern and jazz (no, I don't like jazz) for me. Nothing irritated me more than being on a long-distance drive through the heart of the midwest - something I've done and do often since I live in the heart of the midwest - when I'd be jabbing at the "seek" button on my radio only to find one country music station after the next. Couldn't stand the stuff. Twangy, manipulative, sobbing-in-your-beer because of your
D-I-V-O-R-C-E crap, IMHO.

My husband loves music - all kinds. Except bands with lead singers who are women, such as the Pretenders. Anyway, he appreciates everything from hiphop and jazz to heavy metal and 80s hairbands. Country music always reminds him of his father and lazy Sundays washing the car or some other childhood sentimental stuff guys remember. So in the name of marital harmony, I'd occasionally suffer through an hour or so of country fare on those afore mentioned road trips until I'd scream about the blood coming out of my ears and flip to a soothing classic rock station.

But then something horrible happened. We added new lighting in our kitchen which intefered with our kitchen-radio's ability to tune in good radio stations. The only station that comes in crystal clear - US 99, America's Country Station. And since I like to listen to music in the morning and while unloading the dishwasher and other such mind-numbing kitchen-type tasks, it's either country music or my own voice, which is actually worse than atonal modern music.

So I now know the names of many current country favs such as Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Brooks & Dunn, and Big & Rich. More importantly, I know their voices and can recognize their songs without needing the prompt of the radio DJ. I can sing along to the top twenty or so songs featured on CMT's Top 20 Country Countdown. And I know that Keith Urban is Australian even though he sounds like he was plucked straight out of some Tennessee backwoods when he sings.

Guess what's happened? The dang stuff has actually grown on me. I kinda...*gulp*...really like it.

I like it because the songs tell a story. They're full of emotion (yeah, sometimes it's a lot of hokey emotion) and can bring a real, honest tear to my eye. I like it because the men seem to love so deeply and completely. They personify the things I love best about heroes in the books I enjoy reading most - a true devotion to the woman they've chosen. There is no hiding of how they feel, and mistakes are owned wholly and admitted freely. And the women have a kick-ass-and-take-no-prisoners attitude that tells the world what they really think. Country music songs actually say something a good portion of the time.

So now my car radio has a preset button devoted to US 99. And I don't laugh at my hubby anymore when I stoll into the living room to find CMT on the TV as background while he reads the paper. And I don't mind those long treks across the heart of America anymore.

Plus I've got a new motto that I use freely when I'm irritated with someone, thanks to the wisdom of Jo Dee Messina. "Sorry, my give a damn's busted."

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