“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.

10 Comment(s)

  1. On Dec 15, 2011, robena grant said:

    Alison, this was a great look at country music. I’m also a big fan. I’m old, and yet I adore Taylor Swift’s music, her stage presence, and the way she has built her empire. Intelligent young woman. Loved your comment on the hubs and your dad. ; )

  2. On Aug 10, 2012, PLEASE READ THIS ITS REALLY IMPORTANT said:

    Yea, this song is clearly satanic all the way. There are many things that I picked up in both the lyrics and the video. The video starts deep in the night, the moon is high. Darkness/evil is strong. Her combing in front of the mirror reminds me of The Ring, the young girl died ALIVE (as the lyrics say “Don’t you lift him, let him drown alive”) in the deep well water.. maybe just a coincidence, maybe not. She is not looking at her reflection. To me it symbolizing not wanting to see her true self, her holy spirit. Her reflection has one eye covered by her hair throughout the whole shot. Many artists have done it, for ex.. Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce, Shakira. That is another satanic symbol. The eye of Ra, the Egyptian sun God. Look up on google images. Note that Ra has a RED sun on his head. The lyrics say “red sun rises like an early warning.” Red signifies SIN. Isaiah 1:18. Red lipstick covers her singing lips. Then after they take her out of her home by force, you see her reflection/demon blowing out the candle/light. Light signifies knowledge, understanding, and good. That’s why someone smart is “bright.” Then it goes completely dark for almost 3 seconds. 23 sec to 25 sec into the video. 23,24,25. There are 3 people bringing her out in CHAINS/CAPTIVITY symbolizing sin. 2 Chor 6:36. The power of sin binds you, leading to death. Which is what the song is really about. DEATH. When she sings, “and if you fall, if you fall” the two men holding the axe have their eyes fully filled black, meaning they are demonically possessed. Fall meaning sin once again. That group to the right have 3 lanterns. After that most of them have masks on. Then you see the 3 people that initially took her out making 3 triangles with their arms in the back. Triangles are another satanic symbol. An equiangular triangle has 3 angles. 60,60,60. Go figure. This is why 3,6,9 are satanic number favorites. They refer to satan as their Lord as mentioned twice in this song. The front masked men have the ying yang sign on their masks meaning the fight between good and evil. Lyrics say “let the river run dry” so there is no more water. Water is the essence of life. Again meaning death. After that she is out of captivity. I guess she has become part of the group or fully possessed. You saw her giving in at the beginning as she started to stomp with them. Before she walks off she looks to the left. Left again meaning demon. The demon on the left shoulder and angel on the right. At the end, everyone DIES except 3. I have researched satanic symbology and numerology and studied many videos. Everything is usually cryptic or subliminal. I see that this song and video is gaining huge popularity. Be careful with what you listen to. Where your mind is, there your heart will be also. May God bless all of you and keep you out of harms way.

  3. On Oct 26, 2012, ANGELA said:

    Damn that’s deep “Please Read This Its Very Important”

  4. On Nov 5, 2012, lisa said:

    Why cant a scary video just be a scary video? Its art. I am so tired of these “Illuminati” and satanist claims on music. When I was growing up we couldnt listen to Fleetwood Mac, KISS, Elton John or the Eagles because they were supposedly satanic. My daughters dance team made up a dance that a parent at the school said was satanic because they made triangle shapes. ARE YOU KIDDING? Why are we looking at “signs” hidden in pop music when there is REAL EVIL in the world such as child abuse an domestic violence. Artists make creepy and scary videos as entertainment. People like to be scared. Its fun. Get over it, grow up and help someone suffering from REAL EVIL who really needs it. Volunteer to help victims, adopt a child, be a mentor, etc. Or you can sit at your computer and look frame by frame at a MUSIC VIDEO and save the world from evil.

  5. On Nov 5, 2012, Alison said:

    Lisa, I agree with you completely. There’s a scary kind of focus in that comment, one that I think could be turned on real issues in the world like child abuse, child hunger, child labor, domestic violence, etc.

    I also wonder about the various interpretations of what is actually EVIL. I mean, wasn’t there something that came out recently that the whole “666” this is just a mistranslation of the text? How many other things that people take so to heart are just MISTRANSLATIONS?

    I love this video. No apologies, I just love it.

  6. On Nov 5, 2012, Alison said:

    Angela, I was thinking the same thing. I was all, “uh, okay” when I read it. I’m not sure if I wish I had that much time on my hands or not. ;)

  7. On Dec 2, 2012, Aimee said:

    Love the song and the video.
    There is an in depth analysis of this video titled “Witch Hunts and Sacraments: Delta Rae’s bottom of the river”. It seems to indicates that this song is a warning against falling into evil, in part by tending to your own soul, rather than worrying about the immorality of others.

  8. On Jan 12, 2013, Gipper431 said:

    In reply to the person who said “Bottom of the river” is satanic. My god people like you, are who give a lot of people reason to believe everyone who has religion in their lives is a nut. One this song is about the witch trials. So is the music video that’s why all of that demonic stuff was happening. Doesn’t mean it was about the devil. Second Ra isn’t satanic he was an Egyptian god just because he isn’t Jesus Christ doesn’t mean he is necisarilly evil. Are you going to say that Muhammad and all the other deities are satanic? Also red sun rises like an early morning can be talking about dawn haven’t you ever seen a red sun at dawn? Not everything is about religion. Also the band Delta Rae has given no reason for anyone to believe they are satanic and band just doesn’t wake up one day and go “I feel like worshiping satan with a song”. You usually see hints of it in other works. Truth is we will never know what this song is about unless Delta Rae comes out and says it. It’s music just shut up and enjoy it.

  9. On May 31, 2013, Kristen said:

    ‘Red sky at night, shepherds delight. Red sky at morning is shepherds warning’ – an old adage for inclement weather used by farmers and sailors way back when.

    Red Sun rises like an early warning – basically saying there’s a storm on its way, and not to ignore the signs.

    I agree this song is about escaping from sin in a sense. About keeping clear of the devil. Water is often associated with ‘cleansing’ and washing away sin.

    ‘The devil will come for your first born son’ – indicating the son has sinned and must be cleansed. ‘Don’t you lift him, let him drown alive’ – people who are deep in sin rarely want to be saved, the ‘drowning’ mentioned I think is letting go of old ways, being reborn in a sense.

    To me the song is a power ballad about keeping your faith, and the opposite of satanic.

    Hold my hand, ooh baby it’s a long way down to the bottom of the river. ‘Down’, associated with going ‘down to hell’. She’s saying ‘if you fall, hold my hand and I’ll keep your head above water’ I think.

    Lots of messages here, but I think in general it’s about defeating evil. I’m not religious, but I love this song and can definitely appreciate the sentiment.

  10. On Nov 19, 2013, jennifer said:

    It could also be a representation of when women were determined to be witches or not….women were drowned and if they survived they were witches and burned and if they died…well the town was wrong…among the women labeled as witches were feminist and women who felt they deserved equality…i don’t see any of it as satanic….I felt it spoke to the oppression of women throughout our history and the oppression we experience today….SLOW CLAP FOR DELTA RAE

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