Flashback to My First Favorite Country Song

The American Country Music awards ceremony for 2016 will take place tomorrow night, Sunday, April 3rd. Or if you’re reading this after that date, well then, you can bet they’ve already happened! I’m just waiting to see if Rascal Flatts will win Vocal Group of the Year again – because if they win, this will be their eighth ‘Vocal Group’ trophy. And they’re already the current record holders for most wins in that category!

Rascal Flatts first ACM Awards win

In this picture of them holding up their trophies at last year’s ceremony, the lead singer (Gary LeVox) is on the left. He’s definitely aged since I started listening to Rascal Flatts back when “Life Is a Highway” was their biggest hit nearly a decade ago. My sister had shared this song and another one by Rascal Flatts with me back then, even though I had told her repeatedly that my then pre-teen self wasn’t into country music.

Well, after I listened to that song a couple of times (and found myself humming the catchy tune without even thinking about it), I thought that maybe I should give country music more of a try.  The other song she shared with me though is the one that, for whatever reason, really made me love the genre, and that song is… “Mayberry”, which was released in 2002.

The funny thing is that until I had heard this song (and “Life Is a Highway” for that matter), I believed my friends who said that country music was only about girls, trucks, and beer  – three things I wasn’t too interested in at the young age of 11. But after hearing “Mayberry”  when my sister shared it with me, it became one of my favorites. And it still is to this day.

I loved the lead singer’s smooth voice and the catchy background vocals of the song, but more than that, the lyrics are what made this song my gateway into country music. Just like I did back then, I’ll occasionally listen to “Mayberry” when I get stressed out, wishing my Sundays were “a day of rest / not one more day – for progress.” I’ll listen to it when I’m driving through the countryside, passing by small towns and wondering if those were places where “people pass by / and you call them by their first names.” As someone who’s only ever lived in the heart of traffic-filled Austin, I wonder what it would be like to live in a small Mayberry-like town – the type of place with a slow enough  pace for “sitting on the front porch / drinkin’ ice cold cherry coke / watchin’ the clouds go by,” instead of the cars.

People interacting downtown in the fictional city of Mayberry, which was just a set for The Andy Griffith Show

Even though Mayberry is a fictional small town, the song just seemed so real to me back then. And it’s been giving me at least a mental escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life every time I’ve listened to it since then. It’s truly the song that got me listening to more country music, namely artists like Lonestar and Toby Keith that my sister also showed me a little while later. Ever since “Mayberry”, I realized that country music had a way of allowing me to be introspective and just get lost in a song. That’s one of the things about country music that keeps me coming back to listen to more.


Filed under Awards, Blog Post 3, Rascal Flatts, Reflection

5 Responses to Flashback to My First Favorite Country Song

  1. Olivia English

    Great post, Timothy! “Life Is a Highway” was definitely a song I loved when I was younger, back when I wasn’t too into country music either. I’m sorry that Little Big Town knocked Rascal Flatts out this year! Regardless, they’ll continue to be hugely known for their music. I’ve said this before, but I think it’s great to be introduced to country music by a family member or a friend – it’s something special to build a relationship with country music alongside someone who is special to you. Mayberry seems like a great song to sit back and unwind to – I’ll have to try that next time I need a break!

  2. Laura Morales

    This was such a great post! I think the first song I ever heard from Rascal Flatts was “Life Is a Highway” because of the movie Cars. Eventually I started really liking other songs like “What Hurts the Most”, “My Wish” and “Bless the Broken Road”. I had never heard of this song until now, and I really enjoyed listening to them. I think there’s something about Gary’s voice that just calms you and captivates you into their music! Also, I think they are a really good gateway artist, and I think that “Life Is a Highway” was a song that got a lot of people interested in the genre! I also really enjoyed the way you incorporated the lyrics into different experiences that the song could tie to! Great job!

  3. Brittney Haynes

    Yesss! Just so much yes to this post! I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t watch the awards so I’m curious to know if they actually won or not. But the sentiments you had toward country music growing up is really how I felt towards it also. I thought it was just about booze and trucks, but I learned the complexity of the genre as soon as I started exploring. Rascal Flatts will always be a favorite of mine, but I would say that I haven’t listen to “Mayberry” as much as their other hits, but I love how you use that song as a getaway. Coming from a small town where you do know everyone by their first name, I can honestly say it’s the best place for an upbringing! Great post!

  4. Paige Hinkle

    I also was hesitant to start listening to country music at that age. I always saw country music as old people music, especially because my grandparents listened to country and bluegrass even more so than my parents. But, like you mentioned in the post, there are some artists like Rascal Flatts that everybody can enjoy. I think this is really accentuated by the fact that the song was in a popular Pixar movie and so many people ended up loving the song. Their music is very catchy and often has a universal theme that so many people can relate to which is why I think their music is so liked by everybody.

  5. Shira Yoram

    Mayberry was one of my absolute favorite songs in elementary school!! I was so happy to see a post written about this incredible song. Its not as well known as some of their other huge hits, which is another reason I loved it so much. I actually owned the Rascal Flatts album Melt and it was the best track on the list! Every time I heard it came on, I too would think about what life would’ve been like growing up in a small town since I am from Houston. And I would always crave an “ice cold cherry coke.” I’m so glad your sister introduced you to this great song.

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