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I’m A Little Bit Country

A Playlist by an Ex-Country Hater

“The simplicity of country music is one of the most important things about it. It’s about the story and the melody, and the sound of the voice, and the sincerity of it.”

 

Those are words spoken by country music convert and legend Emmylou Harris, who in the 1960s, was a part of the folk music revival in NY. Even Emmylou, at that time, didn’t understand the appeal of country. Long story short, she met Gram Parsons and learned from him the truth and beauty of a country song and became a role model for all of us country converts. As an ex-country hater, I am aware and understand why country music is a genre that can be polarizing. Many make grand statements about the genre and their dislike of it. I grew up in a household that listened to country radio, and I was one of those hating hipsters who wouldn’t touch anything that popular with a ten foot pole. There were exceptions, I learned to love Johnny Cash and badass country artists like Myranda Lambert, but most of the pop-possessed country that played on the radio revolved around drinking, trucks, and blue jeans and it didn’t really vibe with me. So, I turned away from the popular genres of Country and Pop for the hip melting pot genre of Alternative Music. Over the years, I discovered artists, like, First Aid Kit, Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, Angel Olsen, and Neko Case who are artists indebted to country music. Then I met my partner who has a healthy infatuation with Dolly Parton. To give you a visual, my bedside table has a framed photo of him, his has a framed photo of Dolly. With his guidance, I delved headfirst into the world of country music through the loving embrace of Dolly and her touching and good humored tunes and films.

“If you talk bad about country music, it’s like saying bad things about my momma. Them’s fightin’ words”

/ Dolly Parton

I was then introduced to Loretta Lynn through the amazing Sissy Spacek starring film Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980). Loretta taught me that country music is all about the stories.

“If you write the truth, and you’re writin’ the song, and you’re writin’ ‘bout your life, it’s gonna be country, it’ll be country. Cause you’re writing what’s happenin, and that’s all a good song is.”

/ Loretta Lynn

From there, my interests branched and spread as I learned of Outlaw Country, Queer Country, and Cosmic Country. This led me to a documentary by Ken Burns, Country Music on PBC, and my mind was completely opened to the rich, complex, and tragic story of country music. The doc tells the epic tale of the evolving genre, its origins, and the countless people country music touched and influenced over the last hundred years. I can’t recommend this documentary enough, especially for those (like myself) who don’t have a huge understanding of the world of country music. Going through a hundred years of history and seeing the connections between so many people through their shared passion for art, music, and storytelling is an emotional and powerful journey. You will be pleasantly entertained and will surely find some new artists to fall in love with. Finally, we come to the playlists. I created the two of them as a love letter to the country genre I have grown to care for greatly.

Rhinestone Cowboy is filled with glittery hits and bedazzled bops made for singing in the spotlight.

Apple Music / Link

Spotify / Link

‘I think it’s just simple ways of telling stories, experiencing, and expressing feelings. You can dance to it, you can cry to it, you can make love to it, you can play it at a funeral, it just really has something in it for everybody and people relate to it.”

/ Dolly Parton

 

Lonesome Cowboy highlights the stories of heartbreak, despair, love, and triumph that country music has to offer.

Apple Music / Link

Spotify / Link

“It’s about those things that we believe in that we can’t see like dreams and songs and souls. They’re hangin around here and different song writers reach up and get em.”

/ Merle Haggard