November 26, 2014

Country music is universal

Posted 4/22/10

I usually don’t watch music award shows on TV, but I put the American Country Music Awards on in the background while I was cleaning Sunday night and chuckled to myself when I thought of the connection between Michigan and country music.

When I moved to Michigan almost nine years ago, the number of people who loved country music surprised me.

To me, country music had always been a southern thing. Even though I listened to a lot more Phil Collins, Toto and Sting (thanks to my parents’ tastes) than I did country music while growing up in West Virginia, I still had an Alan Jackson CD or two that I enjoyed.

When I moved to Texas, I met my best friend, who soon got me obsessed over all things country music.

I looked around in disbelief at all the country music fans in Michigan. We’re nowhere near the south, so for a while I just didn’t understand its appeal to people in the north.

“You mean those Yankees listen to country?” my best friend asked when I told her about my discovery.

“Yes! They do! It’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen,” I replied.

And it was. What were these winter coat-clad northerners doing listening to country?

But I think I finally have it figured out.

People who are anti-country music will often say that the music is just about losing your dog, your wife and your car, but it is much more than that.

Country music touches on universal emotions.

Just take Lady Antebellum, who took home a few awards that night. Their newest single, “American Honey,” is — according to my own interpretation — about wishing you could go back to childhood when life was more easy-going and innocent.

Most people, I believe, have felt that exact same thing at some point in their lives. It doesn’t matter where you live to feel that emotion.

So go on ahead, Michiganders. Play that country music.

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