Listening to Brad Paisley’s “This is Country Music” gives anyone a great overview of what country music is to a lot of people and clues the clueless into the values that it speaks to. However, there’s one line in the song that I think is majorly overlooked. In the second bridge, Paisley sings “This is real, this is your life in a song / Just like a road that takes you home / This is country music.”
I hadn’t thought about it much until I really started reading the lyrics, but that line characterizes the feeling I get when I listen to country. I think we all know it too—the comfort of turning down familiar roads and all the memories that start to flash across your mind’s eye. Your body moves almost as if on auto pilot because your mind is elsewhere. A pleasant, almost nostalgic feeling pervades my thoughts. It’s comfortable. It’s what I know.
Country music has been the soundtrack to my entire life. From the time I was born, it was engrained in my brain that George Strait is the King and that Alan Jackson is his right hand man. In fact, Alan Jackson’s “Livin’ on Love” was probably the first song I knew word-for-word since we played it coming home from church every Sunday. It’s like my family’s song, you know how boyfriends and girlfriends have “their song” or whatever, my family has one, too.
As I grew up, I learned that I could like things that weren’t just what my dad listened to—though raising me on the greats definitely influenced my taste. I became interested in different kinds of country especially female singers like Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and others. Admittedly, they’re more pop country and it wasn’t a real shock to anyone when Taylor Swift left the scene to explore new avenues and a larger audience.
But something struck me about what she had to say at the CMA’s this year talking about when she left. She said that country music would always be her home and where she got her start. I think giving the genre that kind of recognition was important to fans everywhere because while we no longer lay claim to her as a community, we would welcome her back if she wanted to make a return. For me that speaks volumes about the community and sense of home country creates. Like Lynden’s mom said, country music is one of the most forgiving communities—from exploring new genres to problems in your private life, if you admit you’re wrong country will welcome you home. (Start at 3:52)
So whether country means literal home to you or just mimics the feeling of home, I think the community as a whole is, as Mrs. Orr said, like a family. We’re all connected by the common ideals that country promotes and a cohesive fan base that will support you no matter what which is something a lot of genres don’t have.
What’s your country story? Are there any songs or moments in country music that define your life? Do you agree that country music is like a home? Or do you think I’m crazy? Let me know in the comments! (Except that last one, I don’t need to know about that one).