#1) all (or almost all) of the people who go there drive trucks, so the parking lot is full of Ford and Chevys. The people themselves are usually pretty cool too. They wear Carharts and Wranglers.
#2) the smell that hits you as soon as you walk in the doors -- cedar chips, new rubber, and whatever else it is that makes that signature Tractor Supply smell.
#3) the clothes they sell there are actually real-people-sized.
#4) they have a shelf in the back with old TV westerns like Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
#5) they play COUNTRY MUSIC.
Which I love.
When you tell people you love country music, there are a variety of reactions you get. They either #1) love it too! Oh my goodness! New best friend! Do you like Brad Paisley? or #2) okaaaaay.....that's nice. I never got into it much myself or #3) are you serious? You actually like all that hillbilly stuff? or #4) that stuff is trash. You are a sinner. Goodbye, our relationship is over.
Now, there is a common misconception among most people that country music is all about trucks, girls, tractors, and beer. This is not true.
Well....okay, maybe it's sort of true.
Yes, there are a lot of songs about trucks. About 99.9 % of all country songs are love songs of some sort. There's a handful about tractors. Alright, and most of them have reference to ice-cold beer. BUT. That is not all country music is about.
Country music is one of my favorite things in the world. Musical theatre and Irish ballads are all good, and I love them dearly, but my first and dearest love is country music. It's sort of my life. ;-P There's something about it that resonates with my heart and soul; it's real, it's life. And I am here to tell you that despite what you may have heard, country music is NOT just about trucks and girls and beer. It's so much more. It's about life.
Ten Reasons Why Country Music is Awesome
#1) They're songs about me and who I am. In my case, at least, country music is close to home. These are songs about things I know and care about -- family, farming, God. (Yes, God. There are a lot of country songs about God. A lot of country singers are, in fact, Christians. Ha! The scales are falling away from your eyes!) I like listening to Kenny Chesney sing about his tractor, because I happen to think tractors are awesome. I like songs about dirt and international harvester combines and bonfires and rodeos because that's my life.
#2) Country singers are real folks. They're genuine. They're like rockstars, only it's like it's your next-door neighbor dressed up as a rockstar. You know that person, and they're really nice. Not to imply that all pop singers have no humility, and I'm not saying this is without exception, but country singers seem to focus on the important things in life, especially family. People like Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, and Kenny Chesney are the salt of the earth. I'm being serious. ;-)
#3) Country singers are actually good musicians, they don't just tweak all their recordings to sound good. So many pop singers I listen to and I think, "They don't even sound good. This is not music." If you've ever been to the Grand Ol' Opry (or, like me, watch Youtube videos while you're doing algebra at the dining room table) you know these folks are talented. How about Carrie Underwood? She could sing the stars down from the sky. I've heard Sara Evans live and I could hardly believe how amazing she is. And if you've never heard Randy Houser sing, well -- just go listen to this. That's how country feels.
#4) Country music is about pride. It's a distinctly American music, and it's all ours. Country singers are proud to be American, and they love to sing about it. They love to sing about humble beginnings and hard work. They're Made in America. They belong to the drinking class.
#5) Country music isn't afraid to laugh at itself. Let's face it, some country songs are just stupid. I should be able to get an amen to that one. But the stupid ones know they're stupid and they're okay with it; they play it up and make it funny. Like this one -- I heard that song just about every day in the barn last summer and would groan every single time because it's just so stupid, but when my cousin showed me the music video I had to laugh because it's hilarious. They're just having harmless fun.
...However, there should be some kind of limit to how stupid you want to go. The stupidest country song ever written is called "I Got a Brand New Girlfriend" and I can't even stand to listen to it, it's so absurd. There's a very fine line between what's funny and what's downright embarrassing, and I guess Steve Holy didn't see it.
#6) Country music is EMOTIONAL. IT IS. For every situation you encounter in life, there's probably a country song that sums it up pretty perfectly. You might think country songs are all about break-ups -- wrong. Country songs are about broken families, growing up, leaving home, losing loved ones, saying goodbye, and learning to love. The pain is real, guys.
Emma's List of Top Five Most Emotional Country Songs
Tonight I Wanna Cry by Keith Urban (ACTUALLY DON'T EVEN LISTEN TO THIS ONE)
Stay by Sugarland (DON'T LISTEN TO THIS ONE EITHER IT'S TOO SAAAD)
#7) Country singers have the coolest twangy accents. Because they're all from places like South Carolina and Alabama and Tennessee. (This is one of the reasons why I can't be a country singer, sadly. You can't be a country singer when you're born in New York. Just doesn't work.) I understand if twang isn't really your thing -- truly I do. (Well...I'm trying.) But in my own biased opinion it's much more fun to hear Miranda Lambert say "agin" instead of any normal person saying "again".
#8) Country singers wear cowboy hats.
No explanation necessary.
#9) It really is romantic, you've got to admit. For all the stupid cliche love songs there are out there...man, a lot of them really are good. ;-) Country music is very gender-specific, in case you didn't know. (No really? Do tell.) The men wear cowboy hats and jeans and drive trucks and drink testosterone for breakfast. The girls have long hair and bare feet and wear denim skirts. (Speaking of which, I just bought one yesterday at The Tractor Supply.) The bad thing about this is that it can sometimes make you feel like you need a cowboy to ride the dirt roads with. The good thing about it is that it gives you hope that you'll find a cowboy to ride the dirt roads with. :-) I'll admit it -- I'm a girl, and I like romance. (Well, sometimes I hate romance. Heh.) I'm an incurable dreamer, and I like cowboys. So of course I like to listen to songs about cowboys and angels.
#10) Country music is really fun. You're in your truck driving home in the dusk, you turn on the radio and Jake Owen's singing his heart out about young love. It's fun. It makes you grin and want to roll the windows down and stick your head out and let your hair fly all over the place. It makes you glad to be alive. At least, that's what I think.
Country music is about life, and life is about country music. Amen?
(P.S. I realize I only said good things in this post. There are a lot of country songs that I don't like, and some of it is kind of trashy, but so it is with everything -- there's good and there's bad. I like to dwell on the good.) :-)