I'm A Little Bit Country

I’m A Little Bit Country

“I like all music….but Country.” That is the quintessential line you will hear when some folk are asked about their music taste. Perhaps when they think of country music visions of whiskey, rhinestones, big hair, pickup trucks, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, and troubled lives appear in their heads. They may also think it’s hokey and old fashioned. Yes, I must confess, I think of those things too. I also think of a joke that I heard many years ago. “What do you get when you play a country song backwards? You get your dog, your wife, and your truck back!”

Another reminder is how fortunate I was growing up with a sister thirteen years my senior who was a country music fan. It provided exposure to this genre of music, an appreciation of it, and another piece to my eclectic taste in music.

What I learned was that country music has many different sub-genres and is rooted in styles and instruments brought over by European immigrants to Appalachia. It has elements of folk, blue grass, gospel, Anglo-Celtic, and alternative music. The  instruments I heard were guitar, banjo, fiddle, piano, electric keyboard, drums, and harmonica. I also heard some amazing vocals and lyrics that truly hit home. These words seemed to act primarily on the heart, evoking emotional responses and memories.

As a teenager I lost interest in country music, but then I saw the movie, Urban Cowboy. It brought back memories of my childhood, and the enjoyment of country music again.  I so wanted to be Sissy (Debra Winger), line dancing with Bud (John Travolta) at Gilley’s, the local honkey-tonk. I even rode a mechanical bull back in the day…it was the cool thing to do!

Once considered a southern phenomenon, country music now has a more diverse audience. In 1975, Paul Hemphill from the Evening Post stated, “Country music isn’t really country anymore; it is a hybrid of nearly every form of popular music in America.” This statement is definitely still accurate in 2011.

Although currently there are many phenomenal country artists out there, I must admit that I am fan of old school country. Give me some Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and the man in black, Johnny Cash.

Whether you’re a little bit country or bleed country, the rest of this year will provide an exciting time for fans. A strong country music lineup will be hitting the Chicago area venues like:  Allstate Arena, The Chicago Theatre, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Marcus Amphitheatre, and Ravinia. This lineup will include a mainstream iconic artist, an American Idol winner, an alternative performer who is an actor, a blue grass fiddler, and many Grammy winners. So put on your cowboy hat and boots, and 2-step your way to a venue near you.

Country Music Lineup

Rascal Flatts June 25th

Jason Aldean July 8th & August 27th

Tim McGraw July16th

Dolly Parton July 28th

Brad Paisley August 6th

Taylor Swift August 9th & 10th

Lyle Lovett August 21st

Carrie Underwood September 4th

Alison Krauss September 8th

Toby Keith September 24th

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