Summer Week #11: Wednesday, August 20th– Group A EOs
Ask me ten years ago what I thought about country music, and I’m sure my response would have been some sort of snarky remark containing disdain for the genre.
Fast forward a decade, and as far as a radio stations go, if it’s not NPR it’s usually Star Country. Most days if I’m in the shed or the greenhouse I’ll listen to my own mix of music on an ipod – all 3000+ songs on shuffle. (Many of our workers enjoy my eclectic mix, including bird calls of Wisconsin… for example Johnny Cash, followed by Mates of State, then Brandi Carlisle, followed by the Eastern Wood Pee Wee). But some days I get sick of my music. Or some days the ipod doesn’t work. Or I’m driving a truck or tractor. Or I’m seeding in the greenhouse with a co-worker and a radio makes more sense. During those non-NPR news hours, if the radio is on, it’s country.
How did this happen? Mike and I ask ourselves this question quite often, as we’re still surprised that country music holds such a prominent place for us now. For Mike, even more so. (He does a lot of tractor work with his ‘Work Tunes’ - protective head phones that also play the radio.) The old Cassie would have said – country music is misoginistic and it all sounds kind of the same as they sing about tractors, and bikinis, and break-ups.
After many philosophical conversations about country music in our lives, Mike and I have arrived at the following reasons for listening to it:
During our many hours of listening to country music, we’ve come to organize country into some general themes.
Themes 1 thru 3, I generally enjoy. Those three themes capture so much about family and rural life that I can relate to. And well, themes 4-6 still aren’t my favorite. There’s very strict, traditional gender roles depicted, and female objectification runs deep in the country music culture. (Though there seems to be some recognition starting in country music culture that maybe there can be more than ‘Bro Country’.) But I’ve learned to take songs with these themes with a grain of salt and try to enjoy the humor of them when possible. There really are some great break-up and f*%^& you songs in country music that are pretty fun, despite the one-way-ness of the gender roles.
One of the most memorable songs in country music for both Mike and I is called ‘Bait a Hook’ by Justin Moore. I think it’s perfect at explaining why we are surprised at our love of country music. Here’s some of the lyrics:
I heard you had to drive him home after two umbrella drinks
I heard he’s got a Prius, ’cause he’s into bein’ green
My buddies said he saw ya’ll, eatin’ that sushi stuff
Baby that don’t sound like you, that don’t sound like love, sounds like it sucks…
He can’t even bait a hook
He can’t even skin a buck
He don’t know who Jack Daniels is
He ain’t ever drove a truck
Knows how to throw out a line, but not the kind in a field and stream book
No darlin’ I ain’t even worried, you’ll come runnin’ back
He can’t even bait a hook.
This song sticks out to Mike and I so much because we fit both of these stereotypical lifestyles. As 1st generation organic farmers, we’re our own special breed (and aren’t we all?!). We drive a Prius and we own a big red truck. We drive big tractors and we have solar panels. We’re green and like sushi – yet we love country back roads. We both grew up in the suburbs, yet the rural life depicted in the song, we understand and live that too.
I guess we are who we are, and that’s gradually changing. Over the last decade, it’s been goodbye downtown Madison, 91.7 fm, and riding bikes to restaurants and shows. Hello 106.3, tractors and country roads.
So cheers to country. And enjoy your veggies.
Cassie (and family)