"I hate country music."
I don't know how many times I have uttered, confessed, threatened and spouted these words. Or for how long. Though, I know that it was long before junior high school and continued well into my years in college. I associated country music with the likes of Travis Tritt, Randy Travis and Conway Twitty. Whatever that awful stuff that my dad took home in the form of cassette tapes from my Grandma's "successes" at garage sales and would then torture us on the way back from Lexington... I hated it.
And then out came artists like Martina McBride, Shania Twain, etc. Talented, yes. Beautiful, of course. But awful music! (I still hate the majority of her songs.) What is it about country artists that are obviously talented, but make some of the worst song choices ever?!
There has always been the occasional country song that one of my friends would listen to, and it was either catchy or whatever, and I would like it. But the genre as a whole, yiiiick.
Until, one day... it wasn't.
I think it has been a gradual process that was inevitable. After all, I was born in Kentucky. I have hillbilly roots, and it shouldn't be a surprise that I would eventually come to love that, and accept it. And then, of course, there are the calendars like Studs*N*Spurs, which my friend, Sabrina, so kindly gifted to me to years in a row. Sure, the models are all probably gay. But that doesn't make a shirtless cowboy in chaps any less attractive...
I remember being 16 and working at Bob Evans with the "Dream Team" - Adam Galley and me running the host stand and the cash register. I liked Adam, a lot. I found out that he was a HUGE Garth Brooks fan, and so I got into my parents' CDs and pulled out the two albums they owned of his. I hated it. You can't hate I've Got Friends in Low Places, but I really didn't like his other songs. I couldn't handle the twang.
Still, through the years, more and more country songs leaked onto my playlists, anyway. Artists like Dierks Bentley and Josh Turner made me perk up my ears. Music that I wouldn't listen to on the radio, I was suddenly watching the music videos on GAC and CMT. I also happened to read a few books that, while romanticized (one might even call them romances...), were about Old West cowboys... and well, I was a goner after that.
There's something about the southern charm and gentle respect that I just find to be absolutely attractive. I've always liked that slow southern drawl. And yes, a good fitting pair of jeans....
Plus, there's the fact that the celebrity country artists are surprisingly put together. They don't seem to be nearly as crazy as the rest of the pop star and reality television world. Yes, there's the scandalous LeAnn Rimes, and whatnot. But if you look at others, they've been married to their husbands and wives for years and years with no sign of trouble for the time being. It's encouraging.
I still hate some of the really gay country songs. But others like Then by Brad Paisley, or I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes by Dierks, or She Wouldn't Be Gone by Blake Shelton... I just love them. The songs are sweet and sentimental, they're patriot and talk about God and more and more I find my radio on the country stations than I do any of the others.
It's very strange.
But it's not only music. I love the rustic, country looks. I love lace and burlap and weathered wood. And horses. (Will someone PLEASE take me horseback riding?) My grandma made this adorable cowboy quilt, and I've already called dibs. That quilt belongs to my unborn son... If he ever comes.
My newest favorite scent comes from Bath and Body Works and is called Country Chic. It's fabulous.
I guess my point is, you will not hear me using the above phrase ever again. I thought I would be more ashamed by this confession, but I'm not. I'm OK with it. I've accepted this about myself. I like country.
I like country music.
Ok, it's still a little weird admitting it. But I'm definitely going to embrace it from now on.