…because I’m not a “country boy.” I was born and raised in Manila, one of the largest and densest cities in the world.
Metro Manila’s population in 1955, four years after I was born, was 1.9 million, had grown to 2.9 million by the time I was fourteen (1965) and is now about 15 million. If you include the “urban area” of continuous development, the population is about 21 million. “Urban” Manila’s density is about 115,000 per square mile,which explains its horrendous traffic.
Although I attended college and worked a few years in urban Tampa Bay area, I’ve lived in relatively rural areas since 1977. A few years in Gainesville, where I went to graduate school at the University of Florida, and Tallahassee since 1981.
The entire county where Tallahassee is has a population of under 300,000. That’s about half the current population of Makati, the Manila suburb where I grew up. Yet, Tallahassee is the “big city” for a number of surrounding rural counties. So there are many country music radio stations.
I didn’t listen to country music in Manila. Since I don’t recall that there even was a country music station in Manila, my only knowledge of it was from (mostly) Southern classmates who talked about missing it. And in college, I didn’t bother to give country music much of a listen since it’s “politics” are conservative and I was on the other end of the political spectrum.
And it’s not that my musical interests are limited to “rock.” In an earlier post, I described how I hosted a classical music program on my college radio station one summer. Other musical genres I enjoy include new wave, reggae/ska/soca, zydeco, and yes…even disco. But country music has been exiled from my ears for most of my 62 years.
My wife Susie enjoys country music. No surprise there since she is a country girl born in a small town about 50 miles from Tallahassee. Her hometown’s current population is under 3,000. I don’t even want to know what the population was when she was growing up…
Susie has been watching a country music station when I’m on the computer. I can hear the music since I’m just around a corner. And after exposure to it, I’ve decided that country music can be enjoyable.
The words are normally decipherable (although sometimes you need to get acclimated to a southern twang), even if the song topics seem to be limited, often focusing on romance and partying.
Here’s some of the modern country music songs I enjoy…
Tallahassee is just a short drive from the Georgia state line. So you can imagine my surprise when I learned there’s a duo called Florida Georgia Line, who were recently on “Live! Kelly and Michael” and who have a popular song called “This Is How We Roll.”
Friday night is universally important everywhere in the world but especially so in country music.
If country folks aren’t partying, then romance is probably on their mind, starting with a good night kiss.
And romance is often on their mind even when partying…but I don’t think that’s limited to country folks!
Then, there are “country” values:
Recently, I heard a song that can appeal to everyone. The singer looks like he just graduated high school.
Of course, this is “modern” country music, not the “classic” country music of Patsy Cline, Johhny Cash, et. al, although they’re not too bad either.
Here’s a “ranch party” with Carl Perkins wearing his “blue suede shoes” before Elvis tried them on, Johnny Cash “walking the line” (at 23) and “newcomer” Patsy Cline “loving and losing again.”
Unfortunately, the country music TV station has been replaced by an “oldies movies” station, so I won’t be hearing any country music anymore.
But thank God my wife’s a country girl! (And I’m not talking about music now!) Y’all come back now, heah?