Why I Love Country Music

I grew up in a suburb of Northeast Ohio. We like to say that we have four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and construction. And these were sometimes interchangeable.

Fizzy drinks are called pop, I have a deep and unchanging love for some of the worst sports teams in the national leagues, and cheese is basically a food group to itself. It is not unusual for me to wear shorts in 60 degree weather, and I have tried spaghetti with chili on top of it.

The point I am trying to make is that I am from the North. So why, in the name of all that is good and holy, do I love country music?

The stereotype about country music is that it is predominantly made by southerners for southerners. However, as I sit here listening to “Traveller” by Chris Stapleton, I am struck by how much I love a genre of music that should in no way pertain to me.

In Brantley Gilbert’s song “Country Must be Country Wide,” he describes a gentlemen that he runs into from Ohio. Brantley immediately assumes that the Ohioan is out of place, only to realize that country music appeals to the entire country. It is a common misperception that country music can only relate to drunk white girls at honky tonk bars wearing cut off shorts, red necks who drive pick up trucks with Confederate flags waving out of the bed, and fifty year old Paula Deen-types who shove their precious little princesses into fake teeth and expensive dresses to parade around in front of judges.

The reason for this stereotype is because a good chunk of country songs are goofy and have titles like “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “Red Solo Cup.” But this makes country music fun. I’ll admit, I have danced around my bedroom to “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” more than once, and I’m not even a little bit ashamed.

But the beauty of country music comes from its juxtaposition between the goofy, honky tonk songs and the beautiful songs with incredibly deep and rich music. For every “Beer for My Horses” there is a “One Hell of an Amen.” Songs like “Skin” by Rascall Flats, which details a young girl’s fight with leukemia, or “Whiskey Lullabye” by Brad Paisley, never fail to make me cry like a little baby.

Not all country songs are about beer, guns, pick ups, and dating hot girls with big boobs and tanned legs. Sure, some of them are. And sometimes those ones are the catchiest and receive the most mainstream airtime. But others are just as meaningful as any popular pop ballad. Banjos and violins can portray emotion just as well as synthesizers and auto tune.

So the next time you hear a country song, don’t immediately dismiss it. It could be your new favorite song disguised as a redneck jam.

cowboy boots

True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. {Garth Brooks}

DISCLAIMER: I completely endorse every single song mentioned in the above post. Seriously, go listen to every single one.

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