Earlier in the month, I helped out with a retreat at Brasada Ranch. One of the perks of that trip was that I got to rent a car and drive there myself. I do love a good solo road trip. I wasn’t as efficient at getting out of Portland as I wanted to be, so I didn’t properly prepare for my musical selections on the trip. It was radio all the way.
And so I invented a game. Once my known stations faded (which didn’t take much time at all, thanks to Mount Hood) I scanned until I found a song* and then I would stay with that station until it faded, or there was a commercial break. Then I would scan again and repeat the process.
*A song that wasn’t classical, smooth jazz or Christian. (This is because I need words to focus on–thus no classical or smooth jazz. And those words have to not supremely bug me, thus no Christian.)
This turned out to be quite a fun game that progressed in a predictable manner. I heard a lot of country music.** I’m pretty sure I heard more country and top-40 music on that trip than I have heard in the last few years. At one point, I came into a station where the DJ told me, “We’re in the middle of 10 songs of uninterrupted country music,” and I’m pretty sure by “the middle” she meant, “I’ve maybe played one song” because that was a very long stretch of uninterrupted music.
**And also unpredictably, when I got stuck on a reggae segment on the Bend public radio station. No commercials on public radio, so I had to wait for that station to fade.
It was interesting comparing the themes of the country music world. There was a lot of talking about how much they like the rural environment. There was a ton more talk about god. There was a goodly amount of flag waving. I found myself charmed with Phil Vassar’s “Just Another Day in Paradise” which was a nice picture of real life. (Looking at the video Phill Vassar is a very regular-looking guy. Oh! Apparently this song is 15 or so years old)
I also enjoyed the parallels between top-40 and country music as when I head the Chainsmokers Honest, which is about how the guy isn’t so much into the relationship any more. That paired nicely with a country song that I can’t find via googling. In it, the guy is singing to the current girlfriend/wife saying that he’s skipped town with a new girl who gets him in a way the current girlfriend/wife never did. Unlike the Chainsmokers song, I didn’t care much for that one.
I also discovered this gem of a song called “Tennessee Whisky” which is nearly as old as I am. (There’s so much music in the world!) I’m pretty sure I heard the version by Chris Stapelton, who has a great voice. I also enjoy the lyric, “I stay stoned on your love all the time.”
At the end of the month (two days after this post was written, if these posts were written in real time) Kelly and I went to see John and Hank Green as part of John’s book tour for Turtles All the Way Down. They ended the show with the Mountain Goats, the band that John is a super fan of. And 2017 does seem to be an appropriate year for the lyric, “I am going to make it through this year if it kills me.