Back to the Country June 2, 2011Posted by Matt in family, music.
Tags: country music, Garth Brooks, George Strait, kids, outlaw country
Over the years I’ve tried, many times in vain, to catch the ears of my children with the music I enjoy, to tickle their auditory canals with the tunes that I so love. Most of the times my mighty swings seem to whiff in the air, as the girls stifle yawns or, even worse, giggles.
My children walk to their own beat, though, and that’s actually by design, for we seek to have few constraints put on them as they feel their way through the world, so I’ve been pleased to see them choose eclectic pieces to call their own. Sometimes they plead for Pearl Jam, sometimes they order Outkast, and sometimes, thanks to their mother, they beg for Bon Jovi, but Rachel has decided to incorporate another genre into her repertoire.
Now don’t get me wrong, as just about all Caucasian southerners do, I have a soft spot for the white man’s blues, the music of the common man. I grew up in the 1980’s with the sound of “Amarillo By Morning” as a guide, and started coming of age in the early 1990’s during a resurgence of the genre led by Garth Brooks, but somewhere around ’94-’95, I began to lose interest. The songs seemed to become more co-opted by a crossover, pop mentality that robbed it of the classic fiddle and steel guitar sound, leaving behind a mere shell of its former greatness. Garth developed some strange, schizophrenic alter ego that made crappy music and even Strait seemed to succumb at times. By the end of the decade, I was over it.
As my interest in new country waned, my love for works that predated my birth grew and soon I became enamored with everyone from Hank Williams to the 70’s outlaw country movement led by great personalities like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. I turned to the genre dubbed alt-country including bands like Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, Son Volt, and a host of others. Today I still don’t listen to country radio, but my appreciation of the form remains strong.
Rachel, though, doesn’t care much for these artists. She’s not into Willie or Wilco or Johnny Cash or the Drive-By Truckers. No, these hold no interest for her.
Upon hearing of her newly discovered love for the sounds of the South, I dug through boxes of old CDs to see what I might find to placate her, something that she might enjoy and that I might be able to stand. So far, I’ve found Garth Brooks’ “The Hits” and some George Strait, both of which she loves. Last night I went online and downloaded a few more things for her that I could stomach: Alan Jackson, the Dixie Chicks, and a few other songs (I even grabbed one that probably came out when I was her age, John Anderson’s “Swingin’.” It’s still awesome.).
Of course this also led me to realize just how dated I am when it comes to country music. The only newer act that I enjoy is Jamey Johnson and his outlaw persona is not one that appeals to her.
So, I turn to you as readers and perhaps even as fans of country music. What do you think she would like? It can be newer (meaning the last 10 years) or older. I’m open as long as it doesn’t suck.