(C.S. will probably wish he hadn't read this post, but what the heck?)
You might not expect it of me, but I am quite a fan of country music. I think it's because my musical teeth were cut on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Eagles, James Taylor, and Jimmy Buffet, and country music is about the closest thing to that sound you'll get these days. Or a heck of a lot closer than hip hop, you know?
It could also have to do with my college friend who introduced me to Merle Haggard and David Allan Coe. My otherwise quite normal friend used to bring the house down at every campus talent show with his straight-up version of "Okie from Muskogee." This was during the disco era and I still can't figure out why everybody loved it so.
Anyway, if you're not a fan, I beg you, give it a try with this humorous sample of what country music is all about. (If the music drives you crazy in short order, skip forward to 1:19 and just listen to the talking and the final verse. Also keep your eyes open for a shot of Mr. Coe's sequined cowboy boots.)
Okay, all set?
You might not expect it of NPR, either, but as part of their new determination to be more hip (has anyone else noticed this?), they recently interviewed the lovely and talented Elizabeth Cook, who hails from my neck of the woods and has the twangiest Southern ack-seynt I have heard in a long, long time. She is intelligent and articulate and clearly a deeply feeling person. You can listen to the interview here. I particularly like the way she makes her daddy's time in the slammer sound like a poker hand.