I grew up in a small, rural town where muddy trucks would cruise up and down main street with rifles mounted in the back window and country music blasting from the speakers. I grew up hating country music. I thought it was stupid, cheesy, and ignorant. To me, country music was the soundtrack to a conservative, small-town mentality that felt incredibly stifling. I tuned it out in favor of pop, rap, oldies, indie rock, and metal (for years my musical taste could be easily summed up as “Everything except country!”) until one day in 2003, when the Dixie Chicks caused a firestorm by speaking out against President Bush on stage. This was progressive, ballsy, the complete antithesis to everything I thought I knew about country music. I realized if these kinds of women were singing country songs, maybe it was time for me to reconsider my hatred for the genre. I slowly–and secretly–starting getting into country. Pretty soon I was asking friends for country recommendations and discovering that I have a serious banjo fetish.
This year I drove two-hundred miles roundtrip to attend a country music festival and even took a trip to Nashville to get my live banjo fix. My high school self would be stunned. Here are seven things I’ve learned to love about country music since my conversion to a proud country fan… Keep reading »