Sunday, August 14, 2011

In Praise of Country Music

Country music has had a real breakthrough year; 2011 has been a year when it has all happened.

Shania Twain, who is considered country music royalty, made a comeback, not with an album, but to the public eye after a long hiatus as a result of her divorce from Mutt Lange. Twain says the divorce was so tough that it caused her to lose a voice that so many find unforgettable. It seems though that she's moved forward and made strides just like country music has; she married in January and announced in June that in December of 2012 she will headline her own Las Vegas show at Caesar's Palace for two years.

Lots of country couples tied the knot, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Kellie Pickler and Kyle Jacobs, and LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian.

Country trio, Lady Antebellum walked away from this year's Grammy Awards with Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Need You Now" as well as three other Grammy's within country categories. This was five Grammy's for a group that most people in the country had never heard of five years ago!

This year on American Idol two young promising country singers finished in first and second place, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, both will release debut albums this October. They have, by all accounts, been welcomed by the country music community. This is a community that is close knit and takes pride in each and every member.

Maybe it's the state of our country, but country music has become a real comfort to so many people. Every song has a story. When listening to a country music album or radio station, you will, without a doubt, experience a range of emotions. There are songs about a loved one who left Earth too soon and songs about drinking beer and margaritas in Mexico on vacation.

Brad Paisley, the reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, even titled his new album "This is Country Music". The song "This is Country Music" details exactly what the genre is, stereotypes and all. Here are the lyrics so you can see and read exactly what I mean:

You're not supposed to say the word "cancer" in a song.
And tellin' folks Jesus is the answer can rub 'em wrong.
It ain't hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, and mama, yeah that might be true.
But this is country music and we do

Do you like to drink a cold one on the weekend and get a little loud
Do you wanna say I'm sorry or I love you but you don't know how?
Do you wish somebody had the nerve to tell that stupid boss of yours
to shove it next time he yells at you?
Well this is country music and we do

So turn it on, turn it up, and sing a long
This is real; this is your life in a song
Yeah this is country music.

Are you haunted by the echo of your mother on the phone
Crying as she tells you that your brother is not coming home?
And if there's anyone that still has pride and the memory of those
that died defending the old red, white, and blue,
This is country music and we do

So turn it on, turn it up, and sing a long
This is real; this is your life in a song
Just like a road that takes you home
Yeah this is right where you belong
This is country music
This is country music
He Stopped Loving Her Today
Hello Darling
God Bless the USA
Amarillo by the Morning
Stand by your Man
Mama Drive
Take Me Home
I Walk the Line
Country Boy Can Survive

Here are a few songs that I have been hitting the repeat button on all year:

Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not-- Thompson Square

Dirt Road Anthem-- Jason Aldean

Don't You Wanna Stay-- Jason Aldean feat. Kelly Clarkson

Felt Good On My Lips-- Tim McGraw

Heart Like Mine-- Miranda Lambert

Honey Bee-- Blake Shelton

I Won't Let Go-- Rascal Flatts

Just A Kiss-- Lady Antebellum

A Little Bit Stronger-- Sara Evans

Live A Little-- Kenny Chesney

Long Hot Summer-- Keith Urban

Made in America-- Toby Keith

Mean-- Taylor Swift

My Kinda Party-- Jason Aldean

Old Alabama-- Brad Paisley with Alabama

Put You In A Song-- Keith Urban

Remind Me-- Brad Paisley feat. Carrie Underwood

Somewhere With You-- Kenny Chesney

Sparks Fly-- Taylor Swift

This-- Darius Rucker

This Is Country Music-- Brad Paisley

Tomorrow-- Chris Young

Turn On The Radio-- Reba

Voices-- Chris Young

Who Are You When I'm Not Looking-- Blake Shelton

Without You-- Keith Urban

You Lie-- The Band Perry

You can see a complete list of great country hits from 2011 right here:

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