It’s been all quiet on little blog, I have many drafts, of many different types of posts but I’m finding it hard to find the words these days or the concentration span.
So in my come back post (as I am melodramatically thinking of it) I am choosing to write on a subject that I find so intoxicatingly, happy inducing I can’t possibly allow my inner gremlins to sabotage it.
Yes, friends I speak of my love of Country Music.
I know, I know, people will sneer and roll their eyes but as I rock around town as a baldy; sunglasses on and Headphones securely in place. It’s my Country Playlist that makes things OK, through the stares and the nudges and the pity.
Hell, it doesn’t just make things OK it makes me want to DANCE.
I discovered Country Music on a road trip, driving around the US of A. I think the sentence says it all, in fact I defy anyone not to fall for the down-home charms of Country under similar circumstances.
This was my first big trip. It was the first big trip I’d taken with a boy. A boy, I’d only been dating for 9 months, a long distance boy. A boy who I’d only spent time with in small doses – 4 days max.
So we did the only sensible thing and planned a month-long road trip to see how well we really got on. It was our ‘put up or shut up’ moment.
At the time, I’d say I was not the most alluring of travel buddies; I hate planes, I couldn’t drive and I’m THE worst map reader ever. Seriously I have no sense of direction.
I had serious nerves on the eve of our trip. I worried that we didn’t know each other that well, that my carefully cultivated cool (ha!) would be shattered, that we’d be eaten by bears in Yosemite, that we’d somehow, inevitably end up becoming drug mules and spend our lives in jail or worst of all that we’d have nothing to talk about for the long hours of driving. It could have gone horribly, horribly wrong.
It didn’t. We saw amazing sights, ate amazing food, talked an amazing amount, had amazing fights, got amazingly lost – all the good things you’re meant to do on a road trip.
Then we discovered Country Music. More specifically we discovered Kickin’ Country Radio and life got even better.
If you’ve never driven between the pinky, hazy, dusty wonderlands of Arizona, Utah and Nevada on pretty much deserted highways – blasting songs about trucks, beer and girls- well then I’m not sure you’ve really lived.
Same goes for the epic vistas of the California Coast highway, accompanied by songs that remind you just how good life can be, especially if you have a truck, a beer, a good woman and probably an old guitar.
I loved singing loudly and off-key, wind in my hair (back when I had hair) and leading this smiling boy completely the wrong way to a motel that wouldn’t have any rooms free anyway.
The smiling Boy was A. and one month after the trip we moved in together and the Sunday morning Country Music Dance Parties started.
That first trip seems a lifetime ago now but the music remains a touchstone to a life that, for the time being, feels paused. Perhaps the lyrics and the sentiment are a little hokey but I’ll cling to anything that reminds me what it’s like to feel human instead of this sick person. That reminds me to be grateful when I don’t feel inclined. It’s simple but I’m a bit simple at the moment.
Also, if all else fails you can play some excellent drinking games with Country Music – take a drink every time truck, beer, whiskey, hating work, liking fishin’, cheatin’, prayin’, small towns – well you get the picture……You’ll get pretty buzzed.
Top Ten Tracks gracing the Pollygosh Country Playlist:
1) Rain Is A Good Thing – Luke Bryan
Mr Bryan is a lyrical genius, it was not quite believing the lyrics of this tune that first started my love affair.
Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey
Whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky
Back roads are boggin’ up, my buddies pile up in my truck
We hunt our hunnies down, we take ‘em into town
Start washin’ all our worries down the drain
Rain is a good thing
2) Country Girls (shake it for me) – Luke Bryan
Mr Bryan again, watching A. crack up every single time he sings “squirrel” with a southern drawl. It kills me. It also makes me “Shake it”.
Shake it for the young bucks sittin’ in the honky-tonks
For the rednecks rockin’ ’til the break of dawn
For the DJ spinnin’ that country song
Come on, come on, come on
Shake it for the birds, shake it for the bees
Shake it for the catfish swimming down deep in the creek
For the crickets and the critters and the squirrels
Shake it to the moon, shake it for me girl, aww
3) I’m a Little More Country Than That – Easton Corbin
The Dude is more Country than that and his name is Easton Corbin!
Imagine a dirt road full of potholes
With a creek bank and some cane poles catchin channel cat
I’m a little more country than that
Picture a small town with an old hound
Layin’ out front of the courthouse
While the ol men chew the fat
I’m a little more country than that
4) Here – Darius Rucker
One of my favourites.
I don’t really know how I got here
But I’m sure glad that I did
And it’s crazy to think that one little thing
Could’ve changed all of it
Maybe it didn’t turn out like I planned
Maybe that’s why I’m such, such a lucky man
For every stoplight I didn’t make
Every chance I did or I didn’t take
All the nights I went too far
All the girls that broke my heart
All the doors that I had to close
All the things I knew but I didn’t know
Thank God for all I missed
Cause it led me here to
5) Better Get Livin’ – Dolly Parton
It’s Dolly and we know how I feel about Dolly.
I said you’d better get to livin’, givin’
Be willing and forgivin’
Cause all healing has to start with you
You better stop whining, pining
Get your dreams in line
And then just shine, design, refine
Until they come true
And you better get to livin’.
Your life’s a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you
This I know is true.
You better get to livin’, givin’
A little more thought about bein’
A little more willin’ to make a better way
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up
Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray
And do that everyday
Then you’ll get to livin’.
6) Look It Up – Ashton Shepherd
It makes me smile – revenge country if you will.
The word is faithful, look it up
It don’t mean sneakin’ around
Behind my back like you ain’t gettin’ enough
How ’bout forever, just look it up
It means through thick and thin and
Pitchin’ in even when the times get tough
The word is easy, look it up
And you’ll see a picture of that piece of trash
Ridin’ ’round in your pickup truck
7) Drink In My Hand – Eric Church
If the above is classic female country, this is classic male. Though I’m not convinced I understand a lot of the lyrics…..
Yeah the parking lot is muddy can’t get to the door,
I take my jacked up drop er down in 4×4
Chill down a long neck, warm up the band,
All you got to do is put a drink in my hand
8) Love Like Crazy – Lee Brice
It’s just good life lessons, I don’t even mind the praying reference – cos it rhymes.
Be a best friend, tell the truth
And overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best
Don’t outsmart your commonsense
Never let your prayin’ knees get lazy
And love like crazy
9) Country Strong – Gwyneth Paltrow (!)
I’m pretty sure Ms Paltrow didn’t write it but it was one of my favourite songs to run to. Now it just makes me feel a bit tougher.
I have weathered colder winters
Longer summers without a drop of rain
Push me in a corner and I’ll come out fighting
I may lose but I’ll always keep my faith
‘Cause I’m country strong
Hard to break
Like the ground I grew up on
You may fool me and I’ll fall
But I won’t stay down long
‘Cause I’m country strong
10) Gimme that Girl – Dallas Davidson
Gimme a girl that’s beautiful
Without a trace of makeup on
Barefoot in the kitchen
Singing her favorite song
Dancing aroun’ like a fool
Staring in her own little show
Gimme the girl that the rest of the world
Ain’t lucky enough to know