I Hate Country Music; Or So I Thought

I always told myself that country music is horrible. From the time that I was very, very little, I detested it and really rallied my mind against it. I honestly have no idea why. It was something that I made a point in letting people know when we discussed music taste. My response to it almost bordered on aggressive. It’s one of those things that I look back on and though I’ve tried to analyze my reasoning, I can’t come up with anything to defend my logic, except for the fact that I was immature and must’ve been trying to fit a mold.

Over time, I started to hate country music less and trend to a more indifferent feeling about it. My parents didn’t listen to country music, but they certainly never taught me to hate it, or hate anything for that matter. The closest thing that played in my house was Gordon Lightfoot, which is more Folk, but certainly has twang-y elements to it.  I’ve basically loved the fundamental instruments in country music all my life, which are no different from rock music, but it’s just a different style and a slightly different structure.

Still, having grown up outside of Philadelphia, I never understood the crowds that flocked to country music concerts in the summer, with cowboy hats and a Budweiser in hand. I’m all about being a patriotic American, and I realize that country music probably depicts the American persona more than any other, but where did these people pick up the taste for it?  Where did they come from?

It wasn’t until I realized my Uncle had a love for country music that I started to think about it in a different way. He was a city kid, grew up loving heavy metal bands in the 80’s and had the style and hair to rival bands like Van Halen in his day. He played in a metal band, loaded up with tattoos and although he never lost his love for a bad rock ballad, he loves country music now too?  As he is a person I respect, good for him, I thought.  Then I met my husband, who is from Iowa; who knew all the country songs when we went to a piano bar early in our relationship. Then I discovered the country station presets in his pick-up truck. He wasn’t wearing cowboy boots or anything, but I must’ve been slow to not see that coming.  I feel kind of sorry now, that he didn’t come out spurs blazing to show his country roots. I always wondered if neglecting his country roots publicly was his way of finding himself in another part of the country or if he was that concerned I’d dislike him for it.  That would be something I’d truly feel sorry for.

As I grow up, I’ve found there’s nothing more important than being open minded. Hell, I can accept most anything else in the world and look on the bright side of most any situation, why can’t I accept country music? Then it happened, crossover music. Though I’m sure it always existed in some form, country has crossed over into mainstream music in a very popular way over the last few years and onto mainstream stations.  There are even bands that I really like that use country elements. I think I might like it. Though don’t tell anyone yet, because I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of commitment just yet. I haven’t bought a country album, but I may have programmed a country station on the second set of presets in my car. We’ll know for sure if it makes the top 10, but its tough competition.

I knew I was lost when I got hooked on the Mumford & Sons album last year and there was a heavy bluegrass and banjo vibe on it.  I’d really love to play banjo, once I get guitar down a little better, but I’ve convinced myself that maybe I’d focus on old Irish music to ease my way into this American genre. I know, none of it makes sense, but at least there’s no longer a deep misunderstanding about something that never truly deserved it.

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2 thoughts on “I Hate Country Music; Or So I Thought

  1. I grew up in South Texas, secretly liking country music, but nobody else in my family did. In fact, my stepfather, a jazz musician, thought it wasn’t even music! So I never listened to it at home. As a teenager I started going to Ritter dances (named for Tex Ritter), dancing to Johnny Cash and his cohorts. But again, I had to keep it to myself.

    When I started to play guitar, a lot of music I learned was the 70s country/western stuff like Emmy Lou Harris and James Taylor. But I had nobody to play with, and I gave it up. Didn’t start again until a couple of years ago.

    But I still had to keep it to myself…I married a jazz musician! He hates country music, just as my stepfather did! But I got my revenge this time: I’ve joined a band that plays country songs. My hubby won’t come hear us, but he’s so glad I’m finally starting to learn guitar he gave me one for Christmas. (I think he’s secretly hoping I’ll eventually play rhythm for his jazz leads.)

    The thing is, there are a lot of performers who blend the distinction between country, folk and contemporary rock. As you’ve already noticed, there are Irish songs that have that same sound. It’s catching on all over the world. Listen to The Waifs, for instance. They’re Australian!

  2. Finding new music, whatever the genre, can be so exciting and thrilling. The more I listen and learn the more I find myself a lover of all kinds of music. It can be a lot of fun. BTW, love, love LOVE Mumford and Sons

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