Something about the genre of country music just doesn’t appeal to most of the American public. It’s not uncommon for people to dismiss country music as a whole, feeling distant from its intended audience or even viewing its music as inferior to that of other genres.
Growing up just outside New York City, I certainly was never surrounded by country music; in fact, I grew up with a natural disinclination towards the genre. Country music, as I saw it, was created for folks with whom I didn’t have a whole lot in common. I felt distant from the southern twang, the idiosyncratic culture, and the simple lyrics. But as an open-minded music fan, two years ago, I decided to give country a try. And I fell in love.
I don’t expect to be able to convince you to join me and suddenly start listening to country music. What I want to do is encourage those that may have overlooked country music to give it a shot. Here, I’ve created a playlist to help you make the difficult transition into country music (see below).
Why do I want more people to like country? I think people need the simplicity of country music. They need music that speaks to them in themes that are easy to understand, that reinforce the simple pleasures in life, that remind them to slow down once in a while and enjoy their family, friends, and lovers. And then there’s of course the few indulgence songs thrown into the mix that are just downright funny (see #8 Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer).
While country’s lyrics may be simple, don’t mistake country as a genre that is not musically complex. The country music industry produces first-rate recordings and often showcases masterful arrangements and instrumental virtuosity.
Country music, more than any other genre, feels like the voice of the people (if that voice had a Southern accent). As Jeff Foxworthy says, “it’s real music sung by real people for real people…the people that make up the back bone of this country”. It sticks to the things in life that mean the most, and it feels genuine. Take #6 Chicken Fried for example, in which Zac Brown sings of “a pair of jeans that fit just right”, “love in my woman’s eyes” and “the touch of a precious child”. Country music is great at enabling people to take a step back and remind themselves of the little things in life that matter.
In the end, country music puts me in my special place, in the heart of the South, where the people are polite and life is less hectic. The musical arrangements are well-constructed, the instrumentals are well-performed, and the lyrics are simple and easy to understand. And when you’re enjoying a cold one on a hot summer day, sometimes simplicity is just what the doctor ordered.
Here's the link to the Spotify Playlist: SUNIFY PLAYLIST #8
- If I Die Young – The Band Perry
- Come Back Song – Darius Rucker
- Why Wait – Rascal Flatts
- Just A Kiss - Lady Antebellum
- How Far Do You Wanna Go? - Gloriana
- Chicken Fried- Zac Brown Band
- She’s Country – Jason Aldean
- Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer – Billy Currington
- Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not – Thompson Square
- Stuck Like Glue - Sugarland
Michael Gladstone is a junior in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sunify Playlist appears on Mondays.