The “Conflicting Interest” Blues

I grew up listening to alternative rock music; I received my first iPod when I was eight, fully loaded with my dad’s favorite tunes. While my friends were listening to Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, I was listening to Greenday and the Killers. I’m not going to lie, it made me feel like a badass (hence the pretentiousness I held myself with regarding music).

It is interesting that this is the way my family ended up because my mother’s parents are from rural Mississippi and my dad is from Kilgore in east Texas, a.k.a two breeding grounds for country-lovers. Don’t ask me how it came about that both my parents despise country music because I don’t know and I don’t think I ever will. What did they like? It’s very difficult to pin down one genre, but if I had to guess, it would be alternative rock, or what my dad would call “the antithesis of country music.” Yep, you guessed it; among the rather long list of genres my family hates is country.

george straight sign

Reads: “Unless you’re God or George Strait, take off your boots!”

I was introduced to country music in the ninth grade by two of my first high school friends, twins, Mason and Shelby. Their momma and daddy (their words not mine) were born ‘n’ raised country and it apparently trickled down to them. The first song was hard to swallow… I’m fairly certain it was George Strait. I wasn’t allowed to say anything negative about the King in front of Mr. and Mrs. Conine, so for four years I sucked it up whenever I was with them and listened to all kinds of country music. And… I began to like it, much to my surprise (/dismay).

You know who else was surprised? My parents. Actually, horrified is a better word. They could not believe that I had used their money to buy “that crap.” I distinctly remember my dad singing his best idea of what a country song’s lyrics sound like, something along the lines of “I married my cousin, we honeymooned in mah pickup truck…” It goes without saying that I never mentioned it again.

Since then, they’ve warmed up a little more to the idea of me listening to country, but every now and again I will play something slightly more hardcore and they will lose their crap; it’s become somewhat of a game for me. They’ll never understand how much it has helped me fit into other communities, like the summer camp at which I’ve grown up in East Texas, or my friends who go to A&M and two-step every weekend.

I remember I was working up at a camp in Colorado (based in Texas) a few summers ago, right at the peak of my interest in country music. Apparently, I had a lot to learn. Every Tuesday and Thursday nights, we would throw a barn dance for the families and kids at camp that week. We would two-step the night away, meanwhile I was taking mental notes from the dope playlist of songs to buy on iTunes.

Me before my affair with country music

Me before my affair with country music

By the end of the summer, I had an arsenal of songs that I could whip out in the car back home when someone handed me the aux cord, because maybe, just maybe, with this new repertoire of mine, my friends might actually take a chance on handing me the aux cord (I was previously banned from it due to my tendency to play “depressing” songs). So, even though I have “betrayed” my own flesh and blood, I have no regrets. Rock on, country-lovers. And Yee-haw.



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2 Responses to The “Conflicting Interest” Blues

  1. Katerina Biancardi

    What an ironic story! First a side note: I knew one Killers song from playing rock band with my older boy cousins, but my parents encouraged country music because they thought it was the least “corrupting,” not really sure where they got that one. But I was always jealous of the girls who listened to rock! However, I too had an experience with the sign that reads “Unless your God or George Strait, please take of your boots.” I had a bad brain injury, and forgot who the King was, and my cousins who are Texas natives, couldn’t believe it! Regardless, Texans do not mess around with George Strait!!!! I think your personal experience of the camp defintely helped you get a positive experience of country music.

  2. Olivia English

    I loved reading your story! I was also not raised on country music, and the first time I really started listening to country was in 9th grade! My friends took me to a Luke Bryan concert, and I’d never heard the name in my life. I love that you let your love for country grow regardless of what your parents think. Music is something that can be really personal and everyone’s taste in music is unique, but it’s awesome having lots of different pieces of your life expose you to different genres, and then being able to take what you like and roll from there. I grew up listening to the usual pop radio, but coming to Texas and having friends back on the West coast has really changed and shaped my taste in music, much like yours changed as you experienced new things throughout your life.

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