“Hold my hand. Ooh, baby, it’s a long way down to the bottom of the river.” – Bottom of the River, Delta Rae
I was thinking about why I like country music today as I was driving in the car to get to work. I’m pulling an overnight (again) and I wasn’t listening to the iPod, just threw on the radio.
It’s weird. In LA, there is apparently only one country music station and it’s pretty good, but then again, I haven’t been listening to country radio for a long time.
But, back to the music. Recently, I have been on a country kick. I’ve got a ton of stuff on the old iPod and I’ve been streaming music, watching GAC, reading country music blogs, and listening to the radio more than I have in years. Why?
I realized as Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” came on the radio tonight- it’s because country music is romantic. There are a ton of songs out there that are basically the plots of various romance novels. Or they are the aftermath of romances novels, when the new wears off and the relationship dies.
Personally, I prefer the romantic songs but there are times, especially when I’m not in a melancholy mood but am in the mood for a slight sniffle, where I love to listen to the sad songs as well.
And NO ONE does sad songs like country music. Good lord, Xander from Buffy was right. Country music is the music of pain.
Brad Paisley has a song out right now called “This is Country Music” and it talks about how in general, music isn’t supposed to talk about mama, cancer, etc. but country music does. It’s like it’s different than anything else, bringing up the topics that no one else wants to touch because they’re painful or sad. But country music doesn’t shy away from them. In fact, says Paisley, they embrace those topics and that makes country music what it is.
Some of the saddest and some of the most moving songs I have ever personally heard have been country songs. Some examples:
Two Sparrows in a Hurricane – Tanya Tucker
Waiting on a Woman- Brad Paisley
Then- Brad Paisley
The House That Built Me- Miranda Lambert
Love Story- Taylor Swift
Mine- Taylor Swift
I like listening to the stories of these songs, of hearing about the romance, the cute meet, the fall in love, the fight to be together. I love hearing these men singing about how much they love their women and how hard they would fight for those same women. I love hearing the women sing about the same things.
Taylor Swift breaks me into pieces with a lot of her music. There are a lot of women out there, many in feminist circles, that don’t see a lot of value in Swift’s work. However, I think that Taylor and I are on a similar wavelength, because almost every song she sings, I can find a connection to my own life. Hell, “Mine” is basically the story of my husband’s and my romance. The line “you made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter” is the relationship I have with my father and with my husband, whether they know it or not.
I guess that’s part of it, as well. I see myself in country music in a way that I don’t always with pop music and I don’t with R&B or rap. I didn’t grow up in the south but I grew up country and I know that culture and that world, more than I know the world of the big city.
So, it’s the romance, and it’s the self-connection that I have with the lyrics. And I tend to like the tunes a lot as well.
I like that country music is so connected to the blues, to bluegrass, to folk music. It still feels like it has a good blend of a number of different, older styles, but has a modern and new sound. I can hear you saying, “new?”, but listen to Johnny Cash and then listen to Brad Paisley and you’ll hear what I mean.
I am an incredibly empathetic person and I get emotionally involved and attached to things that many people never do, including books, music, movies and TV. And because of that, I need to find those pieces of media that make that emotional connection worth it. Did I waste my time listening to something that I will never listen to again, or did I find a song that has emotional resonance for me and I will listen to it over and over and over again?
I actually just found a song that has stuck with me- haunted me, is being more truthful- and it was totally by accident. My husband was listening to a non-country station here in LA and he heard this song that he wanted to do more research on. He found a video of it on YouTube, and made me watch it. You know how YouTube gives you suggestions on the side? If you liked this, you’ll like this other thing, kind of deal? Yeah, so I see this image that I wanted to find out more about so I clicked and I got the video for Delta Rae’s “Bottom of the River.”
The song is an original gospel piece by the band and by itself, it’s pretty haunting. The lead singer’s voice is rocking and awesome. But when you pair it with the creepy, supernatural video, the song transcends music and becomes something MORE. It’s just so GOOD. I’ve gone to sleep these past few nights thinking about the song and I’ve woken up singing it. It’s just that great.
Please check it out and see if you agree with my assessment.
I just love country music. I don’t love all of it- no one loves all of something, no matter what they say, but I love a lot of it. I find it inspiring to write to, and I find it pleasant to listen to as I drive to work and then while I’m plugging away at work at my desk in the office. And I know that when I need a good cry, I just need to turn to a few certain songs and the tears will just flow.
I love that this kind of music can be so moving for me, that it can reach inside of me and touch me in a way that not a whole lot has, in the recent past.
It feels good to feel, if that makes any sense. And sometimes it’s good to feel good, and other times it good to feel sad, or angry. I love that these songwriters and performers have found an outlet for what they feel and have done so in a way that makes ME feel.
I can only hope that my own writing does the same thing for those that read my stories.