My hometown is small by almost all standards but only small-ish for my region. If you’re looking for a more specific definition, it has cows and cornfields but more than one red light. Because it isn’t the smallest in the area, the country music debate was alive and well in my high school; some students embraced our rural roots while others thought we were “too cool” for it (spoiler alert: We weren’t). I have always fallen into the former category, and, although I don’t think anyone is too cool for country music, I respect some arguments of the country music haters. Lots of the songs do only talk about trucks, beer and women, but if you listen to more than what is trending, you’ll recognize country music is less superficial than it seems.
My mom played a lot of ‘90s and early 2000s country as I was growing up, and many of the songs contained valuable lessons that have guided me through life. First, Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying,” a song focusing on life after a cancer diagnosis, continually reminded me of the opportunity life affords and that I should make the most of it while I can. Second, Rodney Atkins’ “If You’re Going Through Hell” sympathizes with the trials of life and provides motivation to keep going. Whether it’s a bad day or a series of struggles, this song always seems to capture what I’m going through. Third, Diamond Rio’s “Meet in the Middle” starts as nothing more than a story of a young couple but ends with a message emphasizing the importance of compromise in relationships, which can be extrapolated to life as a whole. Fourth, Brooks & Dunn’s “Red Dirt Road” contains the line, “there’s life at both ends of that red dirt road.” This message may not strike you as it does me, but I believe it wholeheartedly. Life is no less interesting, valuable or meaningful at the end of that red dirt road.
Country music is something that can have deep meaning (or just be fun), and I urge you to give it a second chance.