I have a confession to make. I have already told a couple of friends, but I think it’s time to go public with this revelation. My husband will probably want a divorce, but I can no longer hold in this secret. I am coming out of the closet. (No, not THAT closet. This is a family blog. Jeez.) I… like Miranda Lambert. Wait – it gets worse. I realized that I like a lot of country music.
You see, I grew up in a pretty redneck town. Mechanicsville, Virginia (affectionately referred to as MechanHICKSville) is approximately 15 minutes from Richmond International Raceway (RIR), home of many NASCAR races. If I had to throw out a conservative estimate, I would say 60% of the vehicles in my town have some kind of Dale Earnhardt (junior or senior [8 or 3, if you’re familiar with car numbers]) memorabilia on them. If you want to broaden your search to “general NASCAR drivers,” I would say your odds increase to 75%. I’m fairly certain that our whole town went into a week-long mourning period when Dale, Sr. died. My middle school was named after Stonewall Jackson, the Civil War general, and my high school was named after Robert E. Lee (general of the Confederate Army) & Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederacy). We had an entire row of parking spaces at the high school dedicated to jacked-up pickup trucks, unofficially titled “Redneck Row.” One time I saw a kid come to school with a bale of hay in the back of his truck. Across from the high school, there’s a shopping center that contains the following: a cigarette store, an ABC store, a sex shop, and a sports bar. This is a town that celebrates the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with a Good Friday mud bog, for Pete’s sake. Are you getting the picture? It’s RED.
Anyway, I grew up listening to country music. My parents weren’t super hillbilly or anything, but we did listen to country, in addition to oldies, classic rock, and the “light rock/elevator music” station. As a kid I gravitated toward country music (though I did like other stuff my parents listened to as well). My absolute favorite was Shania Twain. To my 4th grade mind, she was just the best. I had “The Woman in Me” and “Come On Over” on cassette, and my mom even hunted down her very first album for me, “Shania Twain,” which was released before she hit it big. As I moved into middle school, the Dixie Chicks became one of my favorites as well. I liked a lot of other songs and artists too, but those were my favorites and the only ones I had on albums. Once I hit 8th grade though, I decided I did not want to listen to country music anymore. I had started hanging out with a group of kids who were more into rock, and all the boys I had crushes on (all bad kids, I might add) liked rock, so I also liked rock. I gave up on country, ridiculed the redneck kids in my high school (who, in turn, ridiculed the group of outcasts I hung around with – this is all very well explained in the movie SLC Punk and I highly recommend it because it’s one of the best movies ever), and vowed that I would not turn into a Mechanicsville hick.
Up until about 2 years ago, I held strong – no country, only rock. But, one day while I was on vacation with my parents in Florida, we went in a shop that was playing “Ol Red” by Blake Shelton and I remembered really enjoying that song. When I got home, I downloaded it. No big deal, it was just one song. At some point about a year or so later, I heard “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert and “Boondocks” by Little Big Town, though I don’t recall how or where. I also downloaded these. Still not a big deal. Everyone has their guilty pleasures, right? And then I started driving out to see my husband in Tennessee, where I discovered that there are long stretches of road where the only radio stations for a hundred miles are all country. Listening to these (because I had no other choice! There was nothing else to listen to!), I heard some of the songs from the early 1990s that reminded me of my childhood. I specifically remember hearing “Maybe it was Memphis” by Pam Tillis and “10000 Angels” and “Guys do it all the Time” by Mindy McCready. So, I downloaded those too. I still would not admit that I had a problem. It was only 5 or 6 songs. But the more I drove back and forth from Virginia to Tennessee, the more country I listened to.
At some point over the past 6 months, someone that I work with posted “Only Prettier” by Miranda Lambert on Facebook, and I took the bait. I thought the video was cute and kind of funny, and so was the song. Later, a friend of mine admitted to liking country music (especially Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks!), and we had a whole conversation that involved us sending country videos back and forth to each other. This would not have been that odd, I guess, but my friend is black, and I was fairly certain that black people who listened to country music did not exist. Anyway, I decided that if she could admit to liking it, then I could too. About a week ago, I spend upwards of 6 hours on Youtube, looking for country music videos from the 1990s. I found dozens of songs that reminded me of being a little kid at my grandma’s house and waking up at 5 am in her living room to the sound of her making breakfast and the radio playing Shenandoah and Blackhawk. So I started downloading – PAYING to download these songs. I found a ton of songs by Blackhawk, Diamond Rio, Sawyer Brown, John Anderson, Shenandoah, and numerous other artists that I had totally forgotten about. I felt genuine excitement when I rediscovered them. Tonight, after I got off from work, I went to the electronics section of Large Retail Store and purchased Miranda Lambert’s CD “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” I will probably buy the rest of her albums when I have a little more spending money.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not abandoning rock, though most new rock leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe I’m just having a bout of nostalgia for my hometown and my childhood. Maybe I just want something different to listen to. I’m not sure why I’ve gone back to my first musical love, but it appears that I have, at least for the time being. It’s perhaps not as serious as it sounds. Incubus is still firmly entrenched in my car CD player, and as of right now I do not have a country music station programmed into my radio presets. We’ll see where this goes, I guess. This ends my confession.
Not the official video, but well done. It really speaks to the need for all women to be well-trained in the use of a large firearm.
Dear Sloth husband, please don’t file for divorce when you come home. Love, Sheep wife.