A little bit country, a little bit rock n roll
I know, Osmonds lyrics are very rarely a good way to start a blog post about, well, anything. As far as I care, the Osmonds have one good song, “Love Me For A Reason,” and even though the lyrics are sappy sweet and cheese at its best, I rather like it. Other than that…that family is just too “safe” for me. Pardon me for liking a little badass in the people I admire. Despite my lack of interest, I have always rather liked that slogan (if you can even call it that) “A little bit country, a little bit rock n roll.” I think it sums me up well.
I’ve spent a lot of time here trying to make a case that I know rock n roll. I don’t know if I can tell you the exact track listing every album in the Rolling Stones catalog, but despite that lack of trivia knowledge, I think I have a good grasp of what rock is all about, and why people like it.
I mean, take Aerosmith for example:
How can you sit still while listening to that? That song is pure energy. It inspires at least some sort of bobbing along to the beat, maybe a clap, and certainly a desire to sing along. Not to mention that it is sleazy and raw and a little scandalous.
I’m getting off topic.
Anyway, This past weekend, I drove a few hours up the road to visit my grandparents. I was alone in the car with the radio blaring, driving by miles of pastures and cotton fields, thinking about how freakin’ boring North Carolina is. Seriously. The only real scenery change is that it gets hillier as you go west. I couldn’t help it, I felt the country girl within me come out, and I pulled one of my Toby Keith CDs out of the box of albums that rode along on my front seat.
Another aside…I really love Toby Keith. If I had to pick the perfect male voice, his would certainly be in the running…deep and growling and dominating. I don’t always agree with his attitudes and his political leanings, but i love his songs, and I think he is one of few mainstream artists who is following in the footsteps of the old-school outlaw country singers who came a generation earlier.
And I’m going to post this video even though I know it isn’t going to prove anything I just said about Toby Keith…but i just love it! I remember when this song came out and I watched this video on CMT…loved it then, love it now 🙂
So not only am I rock n roll…I AM a little bit country. I’ve never been the girl who tries too hard to fit into one category or another, and I don’t even own cowboy boots. But I have to admit, some of the best music I know is country music. part of the reason it appeals to me is that the lyrics are purposeful, and they’re meant to say something. I think there is a legacy of storytelling throughout the south that is preserved in the songs sung there, and thus most good country music does indeed tell a story. You don’t find country songs that ramble on about nothing. You find rap songs about nothing. Even some rock songs that seem to have no real message. But country music always says what it needs to say and it says it in the best way possible.
It is also special because it isn’t confined by the same boundaries as many other genres…for instance, rock music is music for young people. It started out as a way to rebel and to create their own path through the world. Country music is enjoyed just the same by old people, young people, whoever…some types of music are somehow ageless, and truly do benefit from the wisdom of years. This is why-as I frequently like to say-bands such as the Stones and Aerosmith are still effective. When you strip their music down to its essence,they’re really just singing the blues…and as bluesmen, Keith Richards & co are really just coming into their prime. Country music is much the same way. It isn’t definitive of an age group, its definitive of a whole culture and a way of life. Therefore, you don’t have to be twenty-something to truly relate to a good country/blues/folk/etc song. You just have to be the kind of person who likes that kind of music.
The other thing that has always interested me about country music is the dedication of the fans. If you’re a country artist, you’ve got your fans for life. They’re fiercely loyal. Your hit will be played on the radio for years to come. I’ve always wondered why this is…I don’t have an answer. But while pop artists come and go, and fade away…the artists that were on the radio when I first started listening to the radio are still on the radio today. I can go months without ever tuning in, but when I do, I know I’ll be able to sing along to the songs.
I don’t know what it is that draws me toward country. A lot of it is probably just pride in the values and traditions of where I come from. When I listen to it, moreso than with any other type of music…I think “this is who I am.” Its what I was born with and raised with. In many ways it is where I really belong, I think…It doesn’t make my heart race or my head spin. it is comfortable. It feels like home when I listen to a good country song.
Maybe all the other things I do are a way of running away from my roots and exploring the world. It doesn’t bother me to do that, and I like experiencing as much as I can. But I always come back.