I managed to grow up in Mississippi WITHOUT listening to country music. That’s not to say I didn’t go through some embarrassing musical phases. The first CD I ever got was the Spice Girls’ debut album, and after coming home from BeBop Record Shop with it, I holed up in my dad’s study (the only room that had a CD player at the time) and listened to it all day until I knew just about every lyric. It’s quite possible I also made up dances, but we’ll just pretend that never happened. As I delved even deeper into 1990s pop music, I think my hippie rock loving parents wondered what on earth they were going to do with me.

In high school I decided that I was more of a punk-rock kind of girl. I briefly wore baggy cargo pants and black t-shirts, painted my nails black, and wore black and hot pink jelly bracelets. I shudder to remember it. And I listened to such hardcore bands as Brand New and The Used. (I also included Yellowcard and Good Charlotte, so I’m not sure how authentic I was!)

During that time, I simultaneously developed a love for contemporary Christian music, which has an undeniably cheesy reputation. I don’t know how those two genres fit together, but somehow they did for me.

Somewhere in there my dad bought me a Nickel Creek CD (which, albeit, is bluegrass, not country) for Christmas, and I went away to boarding school. And somehow, little by little, country music began squeezing its way into my repertoire. As I went on road trips through the boonies of the South, not only were country stations often the only ones in range, but they also just seemed to fit the scene.

And so it is that today, of the presets on my radio, one is a weird alternative station that I added because I thought it seemed cool but that I hardly ever actually click to listen to, one is a pop station that plays 90s songs every weekend, two are country, one is classic rock (mostly for A.), and one is “safe for the whole family” Christian. What can I say; I am an eclectic gal.

I’m working on not being embarrassed about my love for country music, despite a lifetime of reviling it. I sing along loud to songs about being from the boondocks and being a redneck, as if they were written precisely about me. I roll in my new Honda Civic and blast mud-ridin’ pickup truck songs. I guess I’ve embraced it.

That said, though, I still heartily enjoy making fun of country lyrics. They are so predictable and sometimes hilarious. Here is one that is particularly funny to me of late, from Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem.”

We like cornbread and biscuits / And if it’s broke ‘round here we fix it 

It’s my country lyric o’ the week. More to come.

What’s your musical guilty pleasure? What music phases have you gone through? Do you like country music?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman