Country Music Through a Different Cultural Lense

fernandez_vicenteComing from a smaller Mexican city 80 miles south of San Diego, my childhood consisted of minimal exposure to any form of country music. While it was possible to hear the iconic melodies of George Strait and Willie Nelson, they held no significance to me. While Mexico has it’s traditional mariachi and ranchera music, of which I’m not too fond of, it seemed as if country music was no more than an American equivalent to said genres. Because of this preconception, it is safe to say I wasn’t changing the radio station to the top 10 country countdown on a regular basis.

However, much of this changed when I first started going to school in the United States. I was shocked when I learned how prominent country music was within the college life, as I knew little to no people back home who enjoyed the “Mexican Country Equivalent.” Suddenly I was being introduced to artists like Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, which sounded very different compared to music I initially associated with country. Even still, I was far from a fan and preferred most other types of music.

One of the first true experiences I had that started to open me up came when I was traveling with the tennis team to Tulsa last fall for a tournament. I started talking to one of my teammates from Kansas when I noticed he was listening to “Remember When” by Alan Jackson, and had told him I wasn’t a fan of country music. He couldn’t believe it and started playing various songs from his country playlist, which included both the old school classics and more pop-oriented hits of today. I felt uncomfortable as it seemed like he knew every single word to the songs while it was just my first time hearing most of them.

While this didn’t necessarily change my opinionimages much on the subject, although I enjoyed a few of the songs played, it made me realize that it was hard to classify country music as all sounding the same with similar messages. It wasn’t until I listened to the song “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley that I truly starting enjoying country music. Unlike many of the other messages preached by typical country songs about girls and trucks, I felt like this song was one of the few I could truly related to, coupled with the combination of the male and female voices singing, and became my favorite country music song to date.

Although I may not have been raised in the country environment, nor enjoy it near as much as some of my friends, I can now enjoy and appreciate country music far more than I ever have.


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6 Responses to Country Music Through a Different Cultural Lense

  1. Lottie Glazer

    I really enjoyed this post. After taking two of my out of state friends home with me this weekend I spent the entire weekend trying to convince them how great country music really is. They were under the idea much like you initially were that all country songs are about girls and trucks. Similarly to you, it took some hardcore convincing before they really started to listen. I will definitely have to put that Brad Paisley song on my playlist for the next time they ride in my car and see what happens. In the meantime though I think they are starting to see that there is definitely something to appreciate when it comes to country music.

  2. Drew Scherger

    I like that you brought up the similarities (or differences) between traditional Mexican music and American Country. I agree that a lot of the modern, chart topping, country hits seem to bear almost no resemblance to Mexican music. I think it’s when you go farther back in time or closer to Texas and Northern Mexico that you start to see some resemblance. I think a lot of Norteño music like Los Tigres Del Norte has some American country influence with the German drum beat. Also some American country artists such as Marty Robbins have done their own take on corridos. I think the biggest blend between Mexican and American music that I’ve found is the band, The Texas Tornados who generally have both Spanish and English versions of their most popular songs.

  3. Who is the guy in the sombrero! I swear I used to know, and it is driving me crazy that I can’t place him.

  4. Laura Morales

    I enjoyed reading your post and reading about your exposure to the genre. Your story made me think of one of my friends who grew up listening to traditional mariachi and ranchera but she hated country music. Even though like you said, it is the American equivalent of country music! Eventually when she started getting into the car with me and my best friend, she started getting some exposure to country music. She would complain at first and tell us to turn it off, but eventually she started growing fond of it. I think she had a misconception of what country music was and that there were different styles within the genre that were able to capture her attention. And now she’s actually more into country than my friend and I are!

  5. Lee Allen

    I really liked reading this, man. I find it so interesting how people handle new music and your story is really great in displaying that. Plus, I know exactly what you mean/how it feels when someone knows all the words to a song, and you’re just sitting there either looking at their mouths say every word, your phone, or maybe just stare at a wall. It’s pretty uncomfortable (and possibly annoying) when someone knows it all and you just want to hear the song. I also love how you can recall the first song that sparked your country music taste, that’s awesome. Great story, thanks for sharing!

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