Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Best of: Me & Country Music

*Originally Posted Here Wednesday, November 2, 2016

**2017 Thought: It's now 10 years since all this happened so I made a playlist of songs from the time.
2006 because that's when it started, 2007 obviously when it all happened, 2008 the after math, and a few from 2009 because they too mean something to me.

Much like in other posts where I've explained my love and journey for something (usually a book or author) in honor of the CMA Awards tonight I decided to share why I love country music.

This post was inspired by, believe it or not, a memory of something I tweeted maybe seven years ago. It was the night of the CMA Awards and I said something along the lines of how it commemorated my love for the genre.
Actually it was the anniversary of something else entirely.

First off how about some six degrees of separation: I am my mother's daughter (in case that one needed to be explained), my mom has a friend who knew the guy who has directed a few Brad Paisley music videos. (*2017 Note: Turns out I've also had connections with Steven Tyler, Tom Petty and Prince. I actually have his guitar pick.)

This connection might be the start of my discovery of the genre, because at the time that guy also had a morning show on the radio. I don't know if that's the reason my mom started listening but she is the one who exposed me to it.
I still remember the day she came home singing Save a horse ride a cowboy. Because what 13 year old would want to forget that.

There were a few songs that jumped out at me but never caught my attention. (Except a few Brad Paisley ones. Yeah he shows up a lot in this story.)

It wasn't until I was 15 or 16 that I jumped into the genre, we were watching a Johnny Cash tribute concert and my mom pointed out the guy singing: Brad Paisley. This was the first time I really put face to voice, so huge moment for me.
I started listening to the country station and whatever music streaming service was popular ten years ago; but no one else really stuck. Some Alan Jackson here Reba there.

"Oh some girl wrote a song titled Tim McGraw... that's weird. SKIP!"

Then in 2007 I fell.
Not in love, emotionally.

It was the start of my senior year in high school and I was struggling with depression. For the first two months of the school year I did not attend a full week because I didn't feel like going out into the world.
Instead I stayed home and listened to the radio or watched country music videos on TV*. Honestly because there wasn't much else to do.
I tried watching cartoons but ended up bursting into tears over Tom & Jerry.

In the end country music was there for me: Josh Turner's Firecracker, Trace Adkins with Ladies Love Country Boys, Sugarland and Everyday America, Rodney Atkins' appropriate If You're Going Through Hell.
A few months later Brad Paisley's Letter to Me, the lyrics of which I would later write out in my yearbook.

And I did eventually give that Tim McGraw girl a chance. Taylor Swift.
I thought she was so cool because she's my age. Of course at that point in my life; some days that fact would also upset me.

Country music kept me sane. And it still does.

A few years ago I had a notion to "give up country music." Or at least take a break from it. This was also around the time I fell into a really bad depression again.
I don't know how long I went without listening to it, but it all ended when guess who was promoting his new album Wheelhouse.
There was a Brad Paisley concert on TV.

It was like coming home. Everything just felt right again and I realized how stupid an idea it was to try and "give up" the genre that is so much a part of me.

Shortly after I started listening to it constantly, I had people comment that I was a different person, that I seemed calmer and more peaceful. And I was.
So that's what the CMA Awards commemorate for me, not my love of the genre, that was in the works for years prior. It's a reminder of my fall and the person I came out to be in the end because of the genre.

*Back when they would play them constantly, if that had happened nowadays I'd be stuck watching reality shows or whatever home show is on. And this probably would be a very different story.

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