“She likes the way it’s pullin’ while we’re tillin’ up the land. She’s even kind of crazy ’bout my farmer’s tan. She thinks my tractor’s sexy.”L1 When you think of country is that what comes to your mind?1 The universal stereotype of country music is of rednecks, trucks, tractors, moonshine, and bars. Country music is more than just the banjo and redneck stereotype. It is the outward expression of love, a sense of community, and patriotism. Where instruments and glamour are the foundations of rock and rap, country music is founded on the lyrics.
Like most musical genres, love is a common theme found on any country artists’ album. What separates love in country music from love in rap or rock is the deep meaning of it. Country music tends to focus on a real and deep love. It is not about getting the most phone numbers or the most women. It is generally about finding true love and everything that surrounds it. Rascal Flatts says it perfectly in “Broken Road,”: “Every long lost dream led me to where you are. Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars. Pointing me on my way into your loving arms. This much I know is true. That God blessed the broken road. That led me straight to you.” L2 Rascal Flatts is saying that although the road to finding their true love may have been uphill both ways2, it was needed in order to find that one special person God had planned for them.
A very different theme found almost solely in country music is the sense of community. Country artists are extremely grounded to their roots. Their hometowns and family are of the utmost importance. They often produce meaningful songs honoring those memories of home. Montgomery Gentry paints it perfectly in his hit song, “My Town,”: “Where I was born, where I was raised. Where I keep all my yesterdays. Where I ran off ‘cos I got mad, An’ it came to blows with my old man. Where I came back to settle down, It’s where they’ll put me in the ground: This is my town.” L3 Montgomery Gentry could not wait to leave his hometown as a young man. Looking back, he realizes that his town made him the man he is, and he wants to spend the rest of his life in that atmosphere. 3
While rock music tends to degrade political figures or economic issues, country music sends a positive image designed to rally support and good feelings.3 Country music is very patriotic and the center of many of their songs are the freedoms in our country and the soldiers dying to protect them. Toby Keith wrote the following moving tribute to the troops in Iraq, which he played at a special concert on the front lines a year ago: “And I will always do my duty, no matter what the price. I’ve counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice. Oh, and I don’t want to die for you, But if dyin’s asked of me, I’ll bear that cross with an honor, ‘Cause freedom don’t come free. I’m an American soldier, an American, Beside my brothers and my sisters I will proudly take a stand.”
Country music is all about passion. The artists are passionate about love, their community, and their country. Country music is designed to brighten up lives which is evident in the fact that since 1989 sales doubled from $921 million to over $1.758 billion.D1 Country music is more than just the banjo and redneck stereotype. It is the outward expression of love, a sense of community, and patriotism. Let’s hope country music does not fall as fast as it rose