What Country Means To Me
By Lesley Hastings
Guess I’ve always had a love of country music in my blood, I remember Linda Ronstadt and The Eagles albums ( yep, on vinyl!) sitting alongside those of David Essex and David Bowie when i was in my teens.
Linda’s heartfelt vocals, The Eagles harmonies and incredible instrumentation ……..but if anyone had told me they were country artists i probably would have been horrified, it just wasn’t cool to be a ” Country and Western” fan in Essex in the 70’s! I just loved the sound.
Here’s a great recording of Linda singing her version of an Eagles classic back in 1977
Thankfully i can now ” come out” , and one thing i love about the genre is how its music can have you laughing and dancing one moment, crying the next, and every emotion in between. Lyrics are probably the most important part of a song for me, and there are so many great wordsmiths in the world of country. My favourite contemporary writers include Gretchen Peters, Brandy Clark and Matraca Berg ( yep, all females!) ……who can’t fail to be moved by this one from Matraca?
I just love how a song can paint a picture and transport you like this…..
Then there’s the “story songs” for which country is renown, one of my favourites being this classic from back in the ’60’s which was also written by this glamorous performer
I tend to prefer solo performers to bands, and when it comes to male artists I veer towards those with “lived in” voices such as Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapleton, once again writers who are lyrically brilliant.
Country music gigs seem to take up a lot of my time and money these days, i am so glad that many US artists are now visiting these shores although I have also been lucky enough to visit both Nashville and Austin several times…….nothing beats being with like-minded people enjoying live country music, and I have met so many wonderful people at gigs in recent years on both sides of the Atlantic.
Most recently, I have joined the Think Country team (family?) and love reviewing new country CD releases and gigs for the site, i have even interviewed a couple of artists too which was great fun! It’s great to share ideas and viewpoints with the other members, and it’s a good way of discovering new artists.
Yes, country music plays a huge part in my life these days, and i am sure it will continue to do so until the day I die! On which note, here’s one song I would like played at my funeral……nothing like a bit of forwards planning!