Tip Tuesday — Just a Smidge Country

I grew up hating country music.  HATE.  I’m not sure why except that hating coutry music was the cool thing to do and since I was not cool, I spent a lot of time doing the things that would supposedly transform me into that enviable chilly state.

No one probably cared that I didn’t listen to country music but I knew that if I was ever shoved into a junior high locker and forced to admit ever listening to the detestable stuff, I could answer “NO!  Take off, eh?” with a clear conscience.

When I moved from Canada to Houston my junior year of High School, I was slowly exposed to country music by friends and more importantly boys.  I liked boys who liked country music, who went to rodeos for more than the funnel cake, who knew what FFA stood for.  I needed to speak their language and during that time became familiar and somewhat in like with a few big country artists. 

When I left Texas, my interest dwindled and I’ve become indifferent to the twangular style of music.  Lately I’ve been trying to expose the kids to a bunch of different musical styles.  Laylee still loves Bob Marley but I’ve been having trouble finding something that really moves Magoo.  He will not dance.  This week I was playing the second movement of Verdi’s Requiem when Magoo started going nuts, rocking out, bopping and laughing hysterically.  There’s nothing like Funeral music for dead poets to encourage this younger generation to get their freak on.

Anywho, it’s a bit disturbing.  I don’t think it should take tympanis and operatic solos in a minor key to get Magoo dancing.  So today I played some Garth Brooks and he appeared to like that too, if cautiously. 

I’m ready to get my feet wet again in the world of country.  What should I start with?  What are the must have artists and songs to bring a recovering Backstreet Boys and Tchaikovsky fan into the world of belt buckles the size of your mamma?

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41 Responses to Tip Tuesday — Just a Smidge Country

  1. Mary C says:

    I do not consider myself a country fan (at all)! but there are a few artists I enjoy. Tim McGraw, Dixie Chicks, and Kenny Chesney are all good to start with. That is so cute about Magoo dancing. My 16 month old just learned to turn circles and clap at the same time, so whenever we say, “Let’s Dance!” He goes nuts!

  2. Jessica says:

    I’m someone who grew up hating country music too; partly because I thought I was “supposed” to, but mostly because I enjoyed other music so much more. The transition to liking it started slowly, even before I moved out here to Houston. There is still some country that is a bit too twangy or cheesy for my taste, but overall, I like it and listen to it a lot.
    Since you mentioned Backstreet Boys, you could start out with Rascal Flatts. They are like the Backstreet Boys of the country world (except maybe 15 years older) in that its a group of guys and all their songs are pretty fun and catchy and they sound almost inbetween pop and country. So you start out small and then you spiral downward into addiction, wahahahaha!
    Dixie Chicks, Toby Keith, Sugarland, Sara Evans….and now I am drawing a blank……
    Have fun!

  3. Jessica says:

    P.S. What part of Houston did you live in?

  4. Carrie says:

    Diamond Rio is one of my favorite bands as well as Lonestar. I saw Lonestar at the Stadium of Fire a couple of summers ago and they were awesome. Lots of fun. We also really like Dierks Bentley and Josh Turner. I LOVE Josh Turner. I grew up in Seattle and it was not cool to listen to country music especially since I grew up in the age of “New Wave” and “Grunge.” We moved to Utah and found that country music is a lot different than what my parents grew up with. Country totally rocks in the love ballad department (for the most part). I hope you have fun with it.:)

  5. Definitely get that boy some Rascal Flatts…and a bonus is they sing the main song in the movie Cars (if you guys have seen that).

  6. It’s not exactly country, but there’s a band I really enjoy that has a country/folk/contemporary feel named Hem. I discovered them thanks to the Liberty Mutual commercial where people go around doing good deeds to each other – this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMwoexR1evo (the song in the background is called “Half Acre”)

    In any case, their music is nice, soothing, folky with a bit of twang, and great to put on in the background.

    Check out two of their albums:

    “Rabbit Songs” (where Half Acre comes from): http://www.amazon.com/Rabbit-Songs-Hem/dp/B0009A1BX6/sr=8-1/qid=1170338239/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-3946975-3704914?ie=UTF8&s=music

    (Incidentally, this album has a track named “Polly’s Dress”, making it perfect for Laylee as well as Magoo)

    And, another album, Eveningland: http://www.amazon.com/Eveningland-Hem/dp/B0002W4T6M/sr=8-1/qid=1170338266/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-3946975-3704914?ie=UTF8&s=music

    Great stuff, you’ll like it! It may put the kids to sleep rather than inspire dancing, though.

  7. I guess you could call the above “Country with an air of sophistication” 😉

  8. Kimberly says:

    Definitely try Keith Urban. He is just enough country without being honktonk and has allot of upbeat songs that kids love. Also, Rascall Flatts, Little Bigtown, Sara Evans, Sugarland.

  9. Citymama1 says:

    To quote a bumper sticker I recently saw on the back of a Ford Pick Up. “Go Big, or Go Home”. There is no tampering with country music…Faith Hill, Dixie Chicks, they’re all nice..but weak. If it’s the twang you’re seeking I recommend a little Billie Ray (remember the mullet?) or better yet go to the classics like Dollie or Reba. Remember, go big or go home.

  10. Shalee says:

    Rascal Flatts, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Allison Krauss, The Wreckers, LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, and Carrie Underwood is slowly growing on me… I just heard a new song called “Watching you” by Rodney Atkins – that’s a great one for Dan AND Magoo to hear.

    All this is from a fellow non-country music fan who grew up in Tennessee. But hey, I was nothing if not backwards – even for the South.

  11. Goslyn says:

    Oh my, you’ll have to go all old-school if you want to introduce your kiddos to country music. The stuff they play now – ouch. It’s HORRIBLE.

    Old school(ish) artists that are worth listening to? Alabama, Allison Krauss. Rascal Flatts is ok, but not really country, personally. I do love me some Dixie Chicks. Best Chicks dancing song is by far “Sin Wagon” although I would NOT recommend playing it for Laylee and Magoo.

    But I can recommend some rocking Bluegrass people – definately danceable. Check out Bela Fleck. He ROCKS. ROCKS.

  12. OH honey. You came to the right place. They don’t give you your diploma at the University of Arkansas unless you can two-step.

    I’m with Goslyn, above–GOOD bluegrass is a great place to start. Allison Krauss or Gillian Welch. Get the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou”! Excellent.

    As for country….I know it’s cheeseball, but Garth Brooks is so danceable. So is Toby Keith! And anyone wanting to cultivate a country music appreciate certainly cannot miss Reba McEntire.

  13. Meadow says:

    I like Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, a lot. Not too twangy, which I don’t like, but great voices and lots of fun.

  14. Nantie Meg says:

    Brad Paisley, SheDaisy, Joe Nichols, Rascal Flatts is good, but eventually you start to notice that their songs have a lot of repeating patterns. hmm, let me get on my home computer and I’ll give you more.

  15. bon says:

    ooooo! going now to pick up the Rabbit Songs… they ROCK!

  16. Susan says:

    We’re fond of The Judds, back when they WERE The Judds. I won’t listen to all that new-fangled country music, because I’m cranky that way.

    Also, my sons love the 1812 Overture, because it has CANNONS. And Handel’s Messiah, because they can sing along.

  17. Julie Q. says:

    I think I’m going to have to write down all of these suggestions! I’ve been meaning to broaden my musical horizons a bit. I’m all about rockin out with my kids to classical music. Verdi is the bomb.

    Oh and maybe she’s not considered country (more “Christian” perhaps?) but I really think you’d like Carolyn Arens. She has a few CDs but this one is my favorite.

  18. heather says:

    thanks to my husband my kids are BIG Johnny Cash fans. My 4yo goes nuts for “Rock Island Line” and “Everywhere Man”.

    I’m with you about country music- ewww! But the older stuff like Johnny Cash isn’t so bad. Its when the husband pulls out Conway Twitty that I start running for the hills!

  19. jackie says:

    I can’t believe NO ONE mentioned the ultimate country singer EVER! GEORGE STRAIGHT! Garth is good. I did like the chicks but I AM from Texas so I DON’T anymore. (grrr) Keith Urban, Sugarland, Toby Kieth, Brad Paisley. I can go on but these are a great place to start. Enjoy!

  20. jeana says:

    We have the Walk the Line Cd which is lots of fun if you don’t mind some mention of cocaine, prison and shootin’ his woman down. And the one we have is actually Joaquin singing, not Johnny.

    And by all means get that rascal some Rascal Flatts! My kids have al three and it’s their favorite group, hands down.

  21. mom2chris says:

    Oh man, I grew up hating country music, too, because my dad listened to old school, hee haw, twangular stuff. But country music has evolved so much from those days. It is so much more “pop” now, so I will listen to Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, and Garth Brooks, all in small doses, mind you. 🙂 They are all very pop-y in nature and their music has very catchy beats that I bet would get your little Magoo movin’. 🙂

  22. Leslie says:

    In my opinion, the best country music is the real country music, the old stuff. The not-poppy-sounding kind. Hank Williams (not jr. necessarily), George Jones, Waylon Jennings–the short songs about moonshine and women. My favorite is Dwight Yokam, but he’s not as old as those others. He’s the only one I can tolerate for any amount of time. As far as old school female country singers, there’s Dolly, Tammy, Loretta, Barbara..I’m pulling from way back in my childhood now…and you can’t forget The Cash, Johnny Cash. My kids love his music.

    After your crash course in country, Magoo might like some old blues music….Robert Johnson is the perfect one to start with. After all, he did sell his soul to the devil.

  23. Amanda says:

    You’ve been given some great artists to choose from. I also grew up hating country because it was the cool thing. Yet secretly I would occasionally hear a song that I liked. It was after my mission when I started dating my husband that I admited to liking country. Garth Brooks is awesome, Rascal Flats are great too. I enjoy Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw too. I like Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Jodie Messina and the Dixie Chicks as well. As others have mentioned, country music in my opinion has changed. It more resembles rock or pop in a lot of ways. I don’t care for many of the older twangy songs, so I like the “newer” country music.

  24. chilihead says:

    I detest country and I’ve lived in Oklahoma since I was 3. I went to college where it was a pre-requisite to like country music (I totally snuck in) and it didn’t change my mind. If I had to listen to country I’d listen to Johnny Cash or Randy Travis. Maybe Clint Black. But talking their early 90’s stuff (not Johnny’s, of course).

    Have you tried Ricky Martin? Wild Thing went NUTS the first time she heard him. And she LOVES Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Johnny Cash (especially Fever and Ring of Fire). Just some thoughts.

  25. Paige says:

    You should check out some Keith Urban, girl. Man, he can sing! And he’s easy on the eyes, too.

  26. cara says:

    I still hate country music. But…I can’t get enough of Lyle Lovett or Bonnie Raitt.

  27. mother of the wild boys says:

    I moved to Texas in 8th grade, but country was so uncool then. My second high schoool job, though, was in a BBQ place that blasted country 24/7. I found myself singing along, AAAHHH!
    I moved away from Texas 10 years ago, and it wasn’t until last summer when we were talking about where to move after graduation, that my “country roots” started reappearing. Just the thought of living there again inspired me to buy that cool Garth Brooks CD collection they had at Walmart for $25. I love it! Now the majority of my car radio presets are country, and sometimes the wild boys say, “mom, why do we have to listen to Texas music?”
    I would also suggest Carrie Underwood’s Cd, she’s got some more Pop-ish type stuff, but all with a country flair. (making it easier to like) I also really like Brad Paisley, and a lot of the ones people already mentioned. Good luck, and update us on the kids’ and your faves.
    PS-Corny as it is, my all-time fave country song is “the Dance” by Garth brooks 🙂

  28. Heather O. says:

    I like Carrie Underwood, as well as Shania Twain. Now there’s some music that will get this wagon train a’movin’! Dh introduced my son to Johnny Cash, which is just so wrong, on so many levels.

    And I have to agree–Garth Brooks is extremely dancable, but just don’t let them listen too hard to the lyrics.

  29. Lei says:

    Hey, I cautiously listen to country, too, and I live in TX! (And grew up Houston… maybe we knew the same peeps?!?! Yeah – let’s play that game later!)

    In my extremely picky taste, I would only recommend Faith Hill and Nickel Creek (alternative/bluegrassy).

  30. Deanna says:

    I’ve always had an odd variety of music that I always enjoy – my ipod could be considered a little schitzophrenic – everything from Billy Joel to Sam Cook to Van Halen to Jim Croce or Trisha Yearwood…so here are my picks for favorite country….

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw…Shania Twain, Sara Groves, I’m beginning to like Keith Urban and some Rascal Flats. I also like LeAnn Rimes lately too and Carrie Underwood has some good songs as well.

  31. Did anyone else mention Alison Krauss and Union Station? Not so much country-county as bluegrass, but we all LOVE it- she has beautful vocals, talented musicians and folksy, warm music.

    And all politics aside, the Dixie Chicks are some talented women.

  32. KYouell says:

    I started to listen to country when the first Dixie Chicks cd came out. “Wide Open Places” totally reminded me of the part of Idaho that we hit on our way to Montana that starts looking Montana-ish. Then I saw the video and it looked like the thing was filmed in the same place I saw in my mind! I was hooked.

    So, basically I like the new pop-ish country, except for bluegrassy stuff like Allison Krauss (she is my hero… oh, if I had only not had a fear of the audience sitting out there in the dark I would have wanted to be her). What I really like about it is that I’m not afraid of what words The Biscuit might hear. Which is why I recommend Brad Paisley. Funny enough for mom and dad to enjoy but no bad words or drugs or bad behavior encouraged by the lyrics.

    The other people I would recommend have already been mentioned, but I thought you might like to try something that might be fun for you too.

  33. Alice says:

    Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, Josh Turner, Gillian Welch, Down From the Mountain CD (the soundtrack to a documentary made about O Brother Wherre Art Thou, and better in my opinion than the orginial soundtrack), Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton (her newest CD is amazing and will break all your sterotypes of her)

    Also if you like bluegrass…in the bluegrass gospel category (or stained glass bluegrass) are The Isaacs

  34. Michelle says:

    Yup that’s me. No country. My sister likes Alan Jackson. I do like ALison Krauss if that counts as country.

  35. Heth says:

    I hate country music, that sound of a steel guitar gives me the willys. But there is just something about country music videos that I just can’t get enough of. Go figure.

  36. EmLouisa says:

    I LOVE country music. Greg detests it. It is one of the greatest battles in our marriage.

    My picks: Dixie Chicks (their new album is more rockish but still kinda country..you’d probably like)
    Rascal Flatts (all those teeny boppers like these guys)
    Kenny Chesney (who is coming to Seattle in a few months. Totally go. He puts on the best concert EVER. EVVVVEERRRR. Don’t get me started. No really, don’t. I could rave for hours about how great his concert was. HOURS I tell you!!!
    Brad Paisley. (Cute songs, cute guy. He even has a paisley print gee-tar)
    Johnny Cash (Old School, Word.)

    I could go on and on. I will spare you. I love music. I love country music. I can tell you more. Really, I can.

    Trying. To. Stop.

  37. Amy says:

    My 3 yr old son LOVES “RASCAL FATTS”–even the stuff that isn’t from the Cars movie. My daughter (age 5) loves Martina McBride–and her lyrics usually don’t have to be censored or explained…

  38. Azucar says:

    Did I miss it or has no one else mentioned the amazing Patsy Cline? I love Allison Krauss too. Speaking of bluegrass, how about Nickel Creek? I’m not much for mainstream country, but I love Alt-Country like The Old 97s (and so does my 3 year old.)

  39. grammyelin says:

    Oh, girl, you are the funniest ever!!!

    “and since I was not cool, I spent alot of time doing things that would supposedly trasform me into tha inevitable chilly state.”

    “There’s nothing like Funeral music for dead poets to encourage this younger generation to get their freak on!”

    I came to appreciate country about the same time as you did (when we first moved to Texas) and not to impress “the boys” either. We got given tickets to a Vince Gill concert and he had me from the first song.

    Just don’t go real twangy or we will all get the musical equivalent of a sinus headache and start talking funny!

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