Emily’s Intro Letter

It’s nearly 10pm on a Thursday night; a time that if I’m being honest I start thinking about bed. (No judgements-I love sleep more than anything). But on Thursdays I force myself to stay up until 11pm. Crazy right? Well it’s all because of “New Music Fridays.” It’s the time when it turns midnight on the East Coast and new music is gifted upon us. It is honestly like a mini Christmas each and every week.

Yes I know this sounds like a very millennial thing to do, but hey I’m a millennial and I’m going to take advantage of the fact that I can find brand new, or decades old music at the touch of a button (thanks Spotify). It makes me wonder what I ever did before? Oh that’s right – I spent $1.29 per song on iTunes. And before that…just the radio.

I didn’t grow up exactly in the middle of nowhere, but it was somewhere that my cheap boom box only able to pick up one radio station. (Shout out to B.93 out of Sheboygan WI, for shaping my young love of country music.) I would spend hours and hours in my room or outside listening to country radio. I can still remember the radio had a trivia where listeners had to guess the very first word to a given song.

The particular song one day was “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” by Patty Loveless. At least three or four people got it wrong before finally a caller, a true fan, had the right word. (I’m not going to tell you-look it up yourself. If you already know 10 points to you). Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I kept my ears glued to the radio because I needed to know the answer, and I couldn’t do a quick Google search. Dial up internet anybody?

And when I got tired of hearing the same songs repeated a few times within a few hours I would pop in my JoDee Messina CD and sing the whole album all the way through. “Bye-Bye” is still one of my all-time favorite songs, and I still have some pretty mean choreography moves courtesy of 8-year-old Emily.

Why country? Is it as simple as it being the only radio station that would come through crystal clear? Is it as cliché as growing up on a farm and I could better relate to “Gone Country” than “Larger Than Life?” Hell no, I had the Backstreet Boys on cassette and that song is still my jam.

Was it because it’s the music my mom would listen to in the car? She claims that country music now is what pop was when she was growing up. Please feel to debate that comment with your parents, because I don’t fully see the comparison. Although we could discuss Thomas Rhett being the Donny Osmond of our generation, but that’s a stretch. I think the similarities are within the song lyrics. The story telling that country writers and singers do so well are found in hits from Carol King, to the Carpenters and to Bryan Adams.

(Side note: I recently bought a record player on Amazon and continue to steal my parent’s old records. I really know how to check off all stereotypical millennial boxes. I also know I’m a walking contradiction to the comments I made earlier about having all the songs I want at the touch of a button. I like having the best of both worlds; a little old, a little new never hurt anyone.)

Again, why country? I could easily been influenced by friends in late middle school and high school, which thanks to them I know way to may Sean Kingston and Fergie lyrics. The early 2000s were prime for pop music, weren’t they? But why would I need to sing a song about “Boots With the Fur” when I could be listening to Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney, or Montgomery Gentry.

Plain and simple, I love the songs. It’s like why we like certain foods or certain candles smell better to us than others. It’s personal preference, it’s something instilled in you. Maybe you’re born with or that is shaped by the people around you. Bet you didn’t expect the whole nurture vs nature coming into play in this article huh? Enough of that for now.

I’m always up for being introduced to new music, new artists, or old songs that I may never have heard of. Bring on your thoughts, questions, and arguments. I’m always down for a good debate. Share your stories of how big of a role country music played in your childhood, or how you found it later in life.

Nothing is off the table here – let’s roll! (Insert “This is How We Roll” by Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan)

A fellow country fanatic,

Emily