Over the past few months I’ve noticed something. Every time I hear a new song on Air 1 and think, “Oh, I like the sound of this!” —it is a Need To Breathe song. These guys are from a small town in South Carolina called Possum Kingdom. Needless to say, their music has a generous dusting of countryishness.
As this sinks in, I realize that two of my other favorite bands are Third Day and Casting Crowns. Mac Powell, lead singer of Third Day is from Alabama and the band’s music has a decidedly southern rock feel. Casting Crowns has more of a pop rock sound, but they hail from Georgia and the southernness bleeds into the music a bit.
Don’t panic, I tell myself. This is not really country music—this is Contemporary Christian music. Quite popluar contemporary Christian music, too. Plenty of people who have no hint of backwoodsiness listen to this stuff. I’m OK.
But then I remember that when I was pregnant with my youngest son, I went through a phase of listening to the local country station. I enjoyed a little twang. The simple story-line themes of the songs were charming—even if references to pick-up trucks were included in the lyrics. Some of the songs made me cry—and I listened to them on purpose!
Rewind to my teen years. What did I listen to most? Classic rock—especially those bands that had southern influence, like the Steve Miller Band and Credence Clearwater Revival. I even listened to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on occasion. Blues Traveler was also a favorite. Maybe now I should start to panic…
My mind jolts back to the third grade. The elementary school in Grand Coulee, WA hosted an assembly where a band played a bluegrass concert with instruments made from household items. It was awesome! I’m pretty sure I went home and tried to make a banjo with a wooden spoon, a cord, and wash basin just like the guy with the really long beard and overalls.
Come to think of it, as long as I can remember I’ve been attracted to music that involves fiddle, banjo, or harmonica. It is difficult to even write this next confession, but I have to say that a touch of drawl in the vocals has always caught my ear as well.
There is no history or tradition of country or even gospel music in my family—no identification with anything remotely southern, country, or cowboy. There must just be something in me that is drawn to it. But what does that mean?!
Oh, well—here’s one of my favorite foot-stomping songs for your enjoyment!