Props: Country Music.
Being a 5’9 220 lbs athletically-built black man, it’s no wonder I get awkward stares at red lights when they see me blasting Brad Paisley like it was another booty shake anthem by 2 Live Crew. One thing you can deduce about me from my young appearance is that I like my music loud, but lets be honest, who doesn’t? (Old people?) The thing you would never guess is that I have a deep love and appreciation for Country Music.
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel some type of way about my Hip-Hop, but Country Music has a way of banjo-ing into my emotions. Each song purposely written, and crafted beautifully with meaningful choruses that intertwine with dynamic verses that leaves you breathless. To me, a Country Music artist is a storyteller who takes that guitar and leaves you with a little piece of themselves.
For a safe bet, take a look at the legend Tim McGraw’s classic “Live Like You Were Dying”…need I say more? How many bucket lists added bull riding and sky diving because of that live-life anthem. You see, country music takes a person who feels alone in their circumstance and lets them know they are not alone. When I finished my football career, I was lost. You know what brought me through the other said? Kenny Chesney’s “Boys of Fall” took me back to that camaraderie and smell of teen spirit that I thought was forever faded.
You may laugh at this, but my birthday is July, 20, 1991… and I don’t know about you. But I am feeling pretty damn twenty-two. (Shout out to T. Swift.) Go ahead. Sit there and pretend you didn’t play it on your 22nd birthday… or wished it was released so you could have played it. That’s what country music does. It finds you in any situation like a heat-seeking missile and provides the perfect theme song for that moment.
The main excuses I hear from the naysayers is that “country music is sad” and “not party music,” but even those people are the ones blaring Darius Rucker’s version of “Wagon Wheel” at the top of your lungs at every piano bar. (Respect to Purdue’s Neon Cactus– my personal favorite.) They are the same people belting those timeless Country Music sing-alongs around the bonfire. You aren’t allowed to hate and turnaround then take advantage of Luke Bryan’s vocal aphrodisiac as all the girls transform into Country Girls who “shake it for [you].” I am not judging, just pointing out facts so you’ll think of me (… Keith Urban reference for those who didn’t know…) when you bad mouth Country.
So this is props to all the great ones: Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, and of course Alan Jackson for perfecting the art of country music. While many genres have come and gone, Country has always remained true to form. Props to you Country for being the maestro of this orchestra called life.