Springtime is (almost) officially in full swing on the Palouse and thus my daily playlist choices are changing. What says, “It’s almost summer” quite like a Florida Georgia Line song played on full blast with the windows down, or some Carrie Underwood in my ear buds on a sunny walk to campus?
Odds are, many readers just grimaced.
What is this stigma surrounding good ol’ down-home country music? And why do fans, like me, face this negativity everywhere we go? In all honesty, it makes sense.
Today’s country radio hits often sound the same, are about the same things and drive many people crazy with their repetitive melodies and hooks. When an artist can write a song entirely about a truck and have it reach the top of the charts, I understand why many roll their eyes.
Still, this disdain needs to be unmasked as something more than certain people having superior taste. Who says a Jason Aldean song has less innate musical quality than a Flo Rida song? This comes down to more than musical prowess.
To put it simply, not everyone identifies with a Friday night under the stars, or with beer cooling in a streambed. Not everyone has had that summer love by a lake, or ridden shotgun in a muddy truck and muddy boots. Not everyone has chosen the pines over the big city on a regular basis, or lived the campfire party, running-from-the-blue-lights high school memory.
Country music is not for everyone, because not everyone has lived it. If I wasn’t raised in small-town North Idaho, I can’t say I’d love country music as much as I do. But then again, I can jam hard to some Miley Cyrus and I’ve never once stepped foot in a club. So why is it so easy for people to hate on country music?
I’d say part of it stems from the ease that comes with looking down on anything mildly hillbilly — anything a little less than “sophisticated,” tainted with rust and a southern accent. We from the country can deal with that — we always have. I was asked many times in grade school and beyond whether I rode a hay wagon to school. I just turned up my Blake Shelton and developed a thick skin.
But I’m trying to defend something I consider a part of myself. Not to change anyone’s mind, but to say maybe it’s time to give country music another chance.
And whether or not that’s an option, remember — country music is the anthem of an entire lifestyle, and one I am proud to claim. As summertime approaches, Thomas Rhett and Little Big Town will continue to frequent my Spotify.
Make no mistake — country music does not “suck.” Some just can’t identify with it, and that’s OK. That just means more fun for us.
Lyndsie Kiebert can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @lyndsie_kiebert