I’ve been a fan of pop country for the past 2 years. I used to hate it and everything it stood for, but all it took was one good Dixie Chicks song to break my resolve and now I’m a pop country radio addict. I have other stations programmed in my car and I’ve got an iPod full of hip indie, rock and folk music, but I keep going back. I’m a little ashamed to admit this to my cool indie friends, but I like Sufjan Stevens and Tim McGraw. Patty Griffin and Sugarland.

Anyway, I heard 2 songs last week that made me choke up. The first is Craig Morgan’s International Harvester. [A brief aside: his song conflates tractors and combines, an error which is inexcusable considering the genre. Also, the video isn’t as cool as it should be.] I love this song because it really captures a lot of my experience growing up on the farm. I had friends in FFA who participated in “drive your tractor to school day,” friends in 4H and my dad had that slow moving vehicle sign on more than one piece of farm equipment. I’m the daughter of a 6th generation farmer. The song made me teary because family farms are rapidly disappearing. I know that niche markets will keep them alive, but corporate farms are the norm now and I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain to my kids what my life was like. I sold sweetcorn with no shoes on, read in a treehouse, played house in an enormous barn, named stray cats, helped catch chickens to be butchered, picked green beans, and washed the poop off of eggs. I’m sad that my experience will be forgotten soon.

Brad Paisley wrote the other touching song, Letter to Me, which is a collection of encouragement and advice to himself at 17. I really like the tender tone of the song. I am also encouraged by the idea that life is so much more than this present moment–that God has a timeless perspective on me and sees me all at once: at 5, at 17, at 24 and beyond.

Country music is awesome. I can’t blame you for hating it as I did once, but I hope you’ll see the light soon.

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