My taste in music has always been quite eclectic, although it will never been seen as avante-garde or edgy. I like pop music. I like Top 40 radio. It’s just who I am. But that doesn’t mean I like everything, and it certainly doesn’t mean I keep up with the times. In fact, right now, I’m hard-pressed to name 10 new songs I actually liked in 2008. Instead, I’m falling back on my favorites from years past. And as I begin 2009, I have fallen into a C&W rut.
I blame this rut on Christian Kane, a country musician in his own right, who is now appearing on television again in TNT’s fantastic caper series Leverage. Kane is a longtime favorite of mine, and every time he surfaces on tv or in a film, I am immediately drawn back to his music. I love his voice, I love the style of the music he created with partner Steve Carlson, and I never seem to tire of revisiting their two albums. But what Kane does for me more than anything is turn my heart back to country music. I grew up on C&W and have memories of listening to 70s- and 80s-era versions of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Dottie West, Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, John Denver, Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, and the soundtrack to Urban Cowboy (on repeat, in 8-track format, no less). This was the music of choice for my parents, thus, this was the music I heard. In the early 80s I began to seek out music of my own taste, which luckily coincided with the New Wave era of Duran Duran, Adam Ant, Eurythmics and David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album. But somewhere in the midst of my musical journey through adolescence, I always seemed to return to country every now and again. During the 80s I remember finding George Strait and Randy Travis and, very barely, The Judds. But it was fleeting and momentary, and I got out well before the Garth Brooks era. And then I was introduced to SHeDAISY. Sara Evans. Keith Urban. Sugarland. And though these artists do not personify “country” to many people, they are my only foray into that genre these days.
As I begin 2009, my iPod is filled only with country music. Along with Kane I’m listening to the discographies of Sara Evans, SHeDAISY and Sugarland, including their performance with Bon Jovi last year on CMT’s Crossroads. I’ve thrown in a couple of Urban’s offerings, plus Jewel’s latest country CD (though it’s not very good), and some Norah Jones for good measure, despite her not being “technically” a country artist. I’m sure there are some current country artists that I would also enjoy, but I don’t have the patience for country radio so someone will just have to lead me to them. For now, I find great joy in listening to these same albums again and again and again. Which is pretty much how my musical tastes run. I spend weeks and months listening to the same artists, same albums, until finally something different pops up or a new album comes my way or, as with this current state, an artist I love reminds me why I love him so and what it is I’ve been missing. And I’m just fine with that trend. Next month it’s likely to be a movie soundtrack or possibly disco. What I’m certain of is that I won’t be bored and that some outside source will influence my playlist. Which is what makes it the most fun anyway.
image from RavenU’s Flickr Photostream