I like country music.
There I said it.
Okay, well maybe that's not quite right. Thing is, I don't hate country music in the way you might expect a liberal African American woman raised in a Northern city would. I like some country music. Actually, I love some country music.
I think it's because I'm a child of the 70s, when "country" was enjoying a lot of mainstream currency. I grew up watching "Hee Haw" on Sunday nights (Salute!) Top rock acts were infused with country (Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd). Kris Kristofferson was a sex symbol. Big rigs and CB radios were hot. And you were as likely to hear Glen Campbell and Dolly Parton on a non-country station as anyone else. It was also the era of the tragic country song.
This song, by Bobbie Gentry, was actually released in the late 60s, but it remained popular enough to inspire a movie starring 70s heartthrob Robbie Benson.
Of course, all country music of the time wasn't so depressing. Dolly Parton is fun. I've always had a soft spot for Dolly.
Now, as I grew older, in the 80s and most of the 90s, I ignored country music. It just wasn't cool. The Dixie Chicks won me back, though. Love me some Chicks. I've always enjoyed how the they sing about freedom, about stretching their wings (no pun intended) and adventuring, in a way that is usually reserved for male singers.
I have all the Chicks' albums, but my favorite is Taking the Long Way, the one after the Bush foofaraw. For a good chronicle of the heat the Dixie Chicks took for speaking out against President George W. Bush overseas, see the wonderful documentary Shut Up and Sing.
Country music is filled with strong women.I like that. Most of my favorite country artists are women, except for Johnny Cash, who is simply legendary and transcends any musical genre. (Rosanne Cash is pretty damned awesome, too. Funny, literate, talented and a great Twitterer. @rosannecash)
Today, I'm more into alt country, like Lucinda Williams, or folk/country/roots like the Be Good Tanyas:
One more thing, just in case you thought black folks don't get their country on...Behold Rissi Palmer and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.