Y’all get a nice musical peek into my childhood with this week’s playlist. Being raised in a rural part of Nebraska by a father who was once a champion bull rider, and older siblings who were all involved in rodeo at some point or another, I was exposed to little more than country music until I was about 10. One of the first songs I can remember learning the lyrics to was George Strait’s “All My Ex’s Live In Texas”, and my family can attest I sang it all the damn time.
My dad is also the reason I even love music as much as I do, and it’s because he would have the radio or cassette player going throughout much of his work day, and I could tell at an early age he held a high respect for quality musicians. This resonated for me later, as I began to explore music for myself, and still does today, as I appreciate the greats he introduced me to.
This of course includes Hank Sr., Loretta Lynn, and all the other legendary singers on this list, but it’s my brothers and sister who turned me on to everything from Reba McEntire to Nitty Ditty Gritty Dirt Band in the ’80s. There was also a period of time when I thought Kentucky Headhunters were just about the coolest thing out there, but I was also 8, and my “Dumas Walker” lovin’ brother had just graduated high school. It’s amazing how much influence an older sibling can have on you.
I more or less stopped listening to country music around the time Shania Twain entered the picture with her fantastic debut single, “What Made You Say That”, because not long after, country started turning pop and/or ridiculous. I can barely tell you a thing about country music today, because I’ve completely tuned it out of my life thanks to this kind of nonsense. Zac Brown Band and Kacey Musgraves (check out her great video for “Follow Your Arrow” here) randomly found their way in thanks to friends who still stand by the genre, and for that I’m thankful. Their music leaves a tiny bit of hope for the rest of those fools that have forgotten country music means more than just a song about a girl in tight blue jeans.
1993 was the last time I even purchased a country album, and it was In Pieces, by Garth Brooks. That man was an absolute genius, and I’m not ashamed to admit I still know most of the words to his songs. Brooks is one of the few remaining artists out there who refuse to stream via sites such as Spotify, but just last month he did launch GhostTunes, a service that allows users to purchase material and listen to it through any of their devices.
He’s also made it next to impossible to find footage of his music videos, or performances, online, so here’s the best I could do for you…enjoy as Reba introduces Garth in this absolutely hilarious rendition of “Friends In Low Places” from an early ’90s music awards show: