Musical Epiphany

Growing up, Dad listened to country music exclusively in the car.  Frank and I spent a lot of time in the car with Dad, as he drove us to school in the morning 10 miles from where we grew up.  We listened to a lot of country music.  At some point, I decided country music was not cool and started listening to rock music.  Perhaps this was just me rebelling — perhaps it was just striking out on my own.  I don’t know for sure, but for a long time I vehemently denied liking country music.

As one might expect, I was exposed to a lot of different musical styles as I grew up and I really enjoyed a lot of alternative and punk music played on the likes of 99.1 WHFS in the 80s and later 103.1 WRNR in the 90s.  I looked forward to leaving my small hick-town and going to college where I’d be able to find a cool college radio station that played all kinds of great music. 

 I went to Penn State.  No such station existed.  Radio land in State College was miserable on its best day.  I was very disappointed.  Nevertheless, as one does, I found a bunch of friends who were into lots of good music, and gradually my musical horizons broadened.  One friend in particular (with whom I lost touch a long time ago) listened to a lot of jazz.  By the time I left school, I was pretty much listening to everything except Rap, Hip-Hop, and Country. 

 I maintained this stance for a long time.  Then in the late 90s a girlfriend was a country fan.  I gradually got to the point where I not only tolerated it, but occasionally tuned into the local country station on the radio.  Eventually I actually started buying CD’s (yes, this was before the MP3 boom).

 Over the years, I’ve grown tired of the rampant anger, disgust, discontent, and angst prevalent in a lot of music.  I got to a point where I could no longer listen to a lot of the stations that came out of DC because they played so much angry music.  It was time for a change. 

 Enter country music. 

I know, everyone thinks country is a bunch of old dudes singing about one-eyed dogs and remorseful infidelity.  But I’m here to tell you that a lot of country is actually upbeat and positive – hopeful even.  And this carries over to my attitudes.  When I spend time listening to the local country station, 93.1 WPOC, I find that I genuinely feel better – and I believe it all has to do with the messages of the music.

Interestingly, this morning on there was a spot on what’s in 2009 as opposed to what’s out from 2008.  One of the comments was that “Anger based music” is out and “More hopeful, fun music” is in; that and dancing.  If you’ve never listened to country music, I’d suggest giving it a try, with an open mind, you just might like it.

I, for one am ready for some happier, better times.  

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