I recently saw a post discussing the definition of country music. Now I’ll admit to being a fan, and as such, I am well aware that the question of what is and is not country music is one fraught with danger and controversy. We can talk about the sound, and the instruments, and so on, but for me country music boils down to a feeling. 

My favourite country songs all induce the same feeling, even though they may sound nothing alike, and may be at opposite ends of the spectrum of country music, and even decades apart. It’s a slow, happy, contented feeling. I suppose it’s a ‘home’ feeling, kind of like what you might get after arriving home after a lot of travelling – business travelling, not the fun recreational kind. It’s a feeling that makes everything better, even if I’ve had a crappy day. It’s a smile on my face, when I didn’t have the strength to muster one. 

One of the things I love so much about country music is how I relate to it. So many of the songs I listen to remind me of people or places, events or feelings, in my own life. Trace Adkins’ ‘Songs About Me’ and Brad Paisley’s ‘This Is Country Music’ really sum this up for me. I respect everyone’s right to listen to music of their choice, but I don’t understand, I mean genuinely don’t understand, how you can not like country music. I expect that says more about me than anyone else, and is likely a sign of how ‘naturally’ country music fits to me. Some of you out there are probably nodding in agreement.

One of the things I love the most about music is how it captures, in a few pithy lines, and a few sounds, a real feeling, a real concept. I’m a writer, so this is my stock in trade, but it takes me 105,000 words to convey a feeling (OK, lots of feelings, wrapped up in a big story, but anyway). The succinctness, the way a song cuts straight to the heart of a matter, is what really intrigues me. We can say so much with music. 

That being the case, here’s a few songs that capture something of some of my important relationships, in no particular order:

Dad – Dolly Parton ‘The Man’ and Tim McGraw’s ‘My Little Girl’.

Mum – Joe Nichols’ ‘We All Go Home‘ –  home is where your mother is, right?

My husband, Matt – Keith Urban’s ‘Making Memories of Us‘ and ‘Thank You‘.

My daughter – Kenny Chesney’s ‘There Goes My Life‘ – not that she was in anyway unplanned, but I can’t listen to this song right now without bawling my eyes out.

Nikki – Shanley Del ‘Old Friends‘. This one has reminded me of you for as long as I’ve been listening to it, and that’s a long time now, though not as long as we’ve known each other.

Erin – Gary Allen’s ‘Along the Way’ and Keith Urban’s ‘Tonight I Wanna Cry’ – not that this is the whole of our friendship, but it resonates for me in relation to our most recent chapter.

Kylie – Lonestar’s ‘Cowboy Girl‘,  and because we both speak Tim McGraw ‘My Old Friend‘.

Nicole – Garth Brooks’ ‘Standing Outside the Fire‘ – actually this one applies to me as well.

I’d love to have songs for all my new online friends as well, but I haven’t figured most of you out enough to match a song to you.

But for all my writer friends, the ones who’ve made it, and the one’s still slogging the hard slog, here’s a few for you:

Kenny Chesney’s ‘Hemingway’s Whiskey’.

Kenny Chesney’s ‘I Didn’t Get Here Alone’.

Trace Adkins’ ‘High‘.

If there’s anyone out there looking for a way to tell the ex who keeps coming back to go and stay gone, I recommend Brad Paisley’s ‘I’ll Take You Back‘.

For myself, I’ll take Brad Paisley’s ‘Too Country‘.

I don’t understand either, Brad.

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