I have to say, before anything else, that country was especially difficult to get through. My apologies for how long it took me to get through this.
I had a whole bunch of help on this one. I had help from Carolina Courtland, my cousin Josh, and a friend, Ryan. I had to sort through 41 artists, which I knew very little about, and pick 10 to listen to. There was a bit of overlap, so I took the ones that they all had in common, and narrowed it down like that. This is what I came up with:
Hank Williams (Sr.)
Once again, I listened to 7 songs each, picked from a list of top ten songs. That’s also the order I listened to them in, and the reason this took so long was that (unfortunately for any die-hard fans out there) I couldn’t make it through 7 songs of Hank Williams. I tried, and I tried. The first two songs I listened to - I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry and Lovesick Blues - weren’t all that bad. When I reached my third song, Your Cheatin’ Heart, I just couldn’t do it. I had that “Ohhhhh Godddddd” moment the moment it came on. The high point of my Hank Williams experience was when I listened to Hey, Good Lookin. My dad used to sing that growing up, and I didn’t know it was an actual song. Its the perfect example of some catchy, sing-whenever-you-want lyrics, but some not-so-great music.
There were a few artists that were so-so, and I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time on. Dolly Parton was the first, and although I recognized this song right away, I liked Glee’s version of Jolene much better. Reba McEntire, George Jones, and George Strait were right after one another, and none of them really impressed me. None of them were bad, but I just didn’t get a whole lot of feeling from any of their songs.
Now, back to the beginning. The first artist I listened to was Patsy Cline, and I adore her. I looked forward to listening to country when I was done listening to her. Crazy was the first song I listened to, and it had a sound similar to other non-country artists of the time. It was a sound that I liked, and her voice is beautiful.
Johnny Cash was the next artist that stood out, but I was already slightly familiar with his music. My mom loves him, so when I was in middle and high school, we would listen to it sometimes. The songs I Walk the Lineand Folsom Prison Blues were enjoyable to listen to, and I think its because they were different than all the other songs. I wasn’t crazy about any of the other ones; they were more like talking with music in the background than singing.
Kenny Rogers had more of a rock-and-roll quality than any of the artists, and so I naturally enjoyed his music. Just Dropped In and Coward of the County were my two personal faves.
After Kenny Rogers was Garth Brooks. I had to laugh a little bit when he began to sing because his voice was the epitome of country singer…low and twangy. As I listened to his songs, I found myself swooning a little over the man, and when he was younger he was definitely a looker. The last song I listened to was Rodeo and in an instant all of those feelings were gone – until I realized, that is, that the song I was listening to was him at all. It was a terrible song by somebody else, so I found his actual song and felt better. The Thunder Rolls and The River were the two songs I enjoyed most by him.
Last, but definitely not least, I listened to Willie Nelson. Him and Patsy Cline were are tied for my favorite country artist (from this list, at least…I’ll give you the scoop later). I enjoyed listening to all of his songs, and because I was building a bookshelf at the time, listened to some of them more than once. My personal favorite was Always On My Mind. It reminds me of my parents, for whatever reason. I also discovered that he, too, sings the song The Scientist. This song is the reason I don’t listen to Coldplay; I just can’t stand it. But his version was better, even though I still wasn’t completely sold.
After listening to 70 country songs, I still can’t say that I like country much more than I did before, but now I know that at least I can listen to it and, to some degree, enjoy it. Oh, and thanks for being patient with me!
Do you like country? What do you think of the list? Would you make any revisions to the artist list (or song list, if you’ve been listening)?