Compared to drivers who commute from Sonoma County to San Francisco every day, my Cotati to Novato commute is pretty lightweight and easy. I just point the steering wheel forward and fall in line with the other several thousand cars creeping up 101.
Now that I’m in the car for significant chunks of time, I’ve started listening to the radio again. But what station to tune into? For a while, I just kept pushing the scan button – I think every fourth station was playing Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” there was one talk station and one classical, and the rest were in Spanish.
Then I landed on the local country music station and stayed there for a while. This is something I never thought I would find myself saying because no one in my family has ever owned a pickup truck, I don’t drink, and daisy dukes were never my style…but I have become a fan of country music.
I am totally intrigued and impressed by the way country music songwriters tell a story. There’s a beginning, middle and end – following the story of a guy meeting a girl, taking us through how the evening progresses and how it wraps up. I love Joe Nichols’ song “Yeah.” There is an innocence to it.
And women in country music are definitely treated better than in pop songs. They aren’t objectified into boobs, bootys and more unmentionable features. Sure, there are plenty of mentions of sundresses and tight jeans in country music, but the underlying feeling that comes through is more appreciation and affection for women than just about having sex.
I like that country music has a sense of humor. The Band Perry sings “Chainsaw” about a girl who’s going to take a chainsaw to the tree where her jerk of a former lover carved their initials. Imagining this jilted girl who is so angry that she’s out there swinging a chainsaw at an oak tree in somebody’s front yard is funny – but who can’t relate to how she feels?
Sometimes when I’m listening to the country station, I play “Country Song Bingo.” That’s where I keep a little score sheet in my mind with all the clichés of country music and I check them off as they come up in songs; things like beer, moon, tailgates, pickup trucks, tractors, jeans, soldiers, America, God, driving while drinking, cops, tequila and every other form of hard liquor. I can really hit the jackpot with a song like Tyler Farr’s “Whiskey in My Water.”
And the line in the song right before that is, “She’s the moon in my shine.” How can a lyric like that not bring a smile to your face. Silly? You bet, but also sweet.