By Zoe Jessica Dawson
“So turn it on, turn it up, and sing along. This is real, this is your life in a song. Yeah, this is country music.” – Brad Paisley
As I write this SCAB, I sit on the back porch of a ranch in Whitefish, Montana watching the kids I’m babysitting be chased by their pet goats over horse jumps in their 40 acre ‘backyard.’ This morning, I drove a 3-ton automatic pickup truck into the small ski town of Whitefish to get ‘campfire coffee’ flavoured ice cream from a shop called Sweet Peaks.
During this trip, I’ve lived in blue jeans, bought a plaid shirt, and learned to switch up English riding for Western. I’ve also learned to turn a blind eye to the ‘in Trump we trust’ car stickers, the Mormon ’10 commandment billboards’ off the highway, and the fact that I’m yet to see a non-white individual in this state.
For better or worse, I’m spending the last month of this pre-SCA chapter living genuine, small-town country life in the United States of America. Which, of course, has had a constant soundtrack of country music.
I get it. Country music isn’t cool. Everybody loves a bit of Fleetwood Mac and I challenge you not to sing along to 9 till 5, but I get the feeling that most (especially British) people’s limit is round about the fifth verse of American Pie. Real Nashville country music both old and new is pretty unpopular, and I bet most of you, my cool arty peers, are cringing at the thought right now. But I really love country music, I always have. Johnny Cash, Faith Hill, George Jones, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum – even Billy Ray Cyrus. It puts a smile on my face on my darkest of days.
It’s the rhythm that gives me a little wiggle, and the violin/banjo/guitar combo that gets me hooked, but what makes it great is the lyrics. A personal favourite: “rain is a good thing because rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey and whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky.” These guys are modern Shakespeares, and their formula for love songs is truly golden. And as I sit and listen to these songs in the landscape they were written for, as I prepare for this next chapter at SCA, I’ve been struck by how these cowboys always seem to know what’s in my heart before I do.
So without further ado, here is a selection of country lyrics that resonate with me about my next year at SCA:
Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone. – The Dixie Chicks
I’m not a child anymore
I’m tall enough to reach for the stars. – Fleetwood Mac
Get along, on down the road
We’ve got a long long way to go
Scared to live, scared to die
We ain’t perfect but we’ll try. – Kenny Chesney
If you’re going through hell keep goin’
Don’t slow down
If you’re scared don’t show it;
You might get out before the devil knows you’re there. – Rodney Atkins
I wanna do something that matters
Say something different
Something that sets the whole world on its ear. – Lady Antebellum
Be a best friend, tell the truth
Over-use I love you
Go to work, do your best
Don’t outsmart your common sense. – Lee Brice
Let your dreams stay big and your worries small – Rascall Flatts
You gotta treat your life like you’re jumping off a rope swing
Baby cause the whole thing is really just a shot in the dark
You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart. – Old Dominion
Monday, hard to wake up
Fill my coffee cup, I’m out the door
Never gonna make it there by nine. – Sugarland