Posts Tagged ‘ Southern ’

Nashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music

Monday, November 25th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

When the Toyota Tundra was delivered to me last week to test drive for 7 days, as part of your 3rd birthday gift from me, the SiriusXM radio was set to a jazz station.

In theory, jazz is technically my favorite kind of music.

However, considering the vehicle I was driving, it just felt wrong while going the quarter of a mile from my office to your school.

In fact, I almost think that any new Toyota Tundra should automatically come with a cowboy hat…

So, I changed the station to Country music.

After your intial ecstatic reaction to seeing the truck for the first time and I got you buckled in, you asked me, “Daddy, what’s that music playing right now?”

“That’s Country music, son.” I explained.

It was about that time that we discovered the entire back window behind you rolled all the way down with the simple flip of a switch.

That, combined with the moonroof being up, created the ultimate “pick-up truck convertible” situation as we cruised through the constant red light stops of Cool Springs, TN as Willie Nelson played through the stereo.

The next morning, and every day I didn’t automatically set the station to Country, you simply requested/mumbled:

“Country music, Daddy.”

It wasn’t until this past week that I even realized you had no idea what Country music even was.

Growing up in the same small town as the band, Alabama, it was a given that the first (and main) kind of music I heard when I was a boy was Country music.

Granted, our family lives in Nashville, so it’s about time you know what Country music is about.

You were born in this city.

So maybe I need to do a better job of introducing you to more Southern culture.

I’d say getting to ride around in a huge pick-up truck while listening to Country music the week following your 3rd birthday is a good start.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.

 

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A Southern Fried, Sunday Afternoon Play Date

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

After testing out the adventure of taking you to the races at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway with us, we decided to invite your best friend Sophie and her parents along for the next race.

It was interesting because I could tell Sophie enjoyed watching the races just as much as you did, but in a slightly different way:

She is a highly verbal extrovert. You are a highly verbal introvert.

Sophie wanted to talk to you and share snacks.

You wanted to eat your own snacks and watch the race; as the “grumpy old man” look on your face in this picture clearly demonstrates.

I was actually surprised you let Sophie wear your skull and crossbones sunglasses… or as you call them, your robot glasses.

Basically, if it meant she didn’t get to eat your food, you were willing to sacrifice the shades.

It was funny when I asked Sophie’s mommy how she liked the races as we were leaving, because her response perfectly reflected my own: “That was different… but I had a good time.”

I must say that being at the races this weekend reminded me how truly Southern living in Nashville can be sometimes… or at least I should say, in some places in Nashville.

The races began with a prayer, which is fine by me. However, the prayer devolved quickly:

“Dear Lord, we thank you that we can all be here at the races today. We just ask that you will keep all these drivers safe today…”

So far so good. But then…

“And Lord, we pray that you will help these cars go faster than they ever have before, so that all the fans here today will be entertained like they never have before…”

{Insert record scratching sound effect here to imply a surprise in the story flow, like they do in cliche movie trailers.}

“And I just pray, oh Lord, that for all the people who decided to stay home today instead of coming out here to the races, that the next time they decide to not come to the races, you would make them feel bad and realize just what they’re missing by not being here with us today.”

That was the point where I stopped taking the prayer seriously, and started looking around, catching eye contact with Sophie’s parents, as to say, “This must be a joke, right?”

Nonetheless, the man ended his “prayer” like this, I kid you not:

“And I pray all this in Jesus’ name, boogity-boogity… AMEN!”

I felt like I needed to ask God for forgiveness simply just for being present for that.

(It actually reminded me of one of my favorite bands, Cake, with their 1998 song, “Satan Is My Motor”; which I interpret as a song about the dichotomy of impure motives versus good intentions.)

Perhaps the most confusing part of the opening prayer was the fact he prayed that the next time people decided to stay home, that God would essentially curse them, but not this time.

Sophie and her parents stayed about an hour after we left, which was at the end of the third race. I learned from Sophie’s mommy, that in the fourth race, two of the cars bumped into each other and the drivers got out of their cars to start fighting each other.

Fortunately, the drivers’ pit crews held them back from actually hitting each other in the face.

I think next time, the opening prayer needs to cover that too.

 

Love,

Daddy

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The Relevance of Country Music, As a Dad

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Seven months.

For this past Father’s Day, I received a card from my wife, a card from my son (whose handwriting looks suspiciously similar to my wife’s), and Brad Paisley’s new CD, This is Country Music. It was just perfect.

How could I, the guy whose passion is to positively re-brand fatherhood, not be a fan of a genre of music that respects the idea of family and faith?

Despite living my whole life in the South, I don’t have a Southern accent.  Nor do I drive a pick-up truck, wear Wrangler jeans, or know how to rope a calf.  But I ama proud fan of Country music.  Not only did I meet my wife in 2006 because of it (we met while waiting in line for a taping of the CMT show Crossroads in Nashville), but I grew up in the same small town as the legendary band, Alabama.

While I can’t personally relate to the songs about tractors, cheatin’, and honky tonk badonkadonks, I can relate to the way Country music is brave enough to be simple and honest.

In other forms of music, like Rock, it’s not quite as acceptable or natural or cool to talk about your wife and kids.  Or to mention that you love Jesus, without it being ironic somehow.  In other words, Country music, more than any other genre, holds the strongest value for family and faith.

I am very sensitive to sexism; especially in music, because music is so influential on our culture, whether we are willing to accept it or not.  And this goes for not only Rap music where it is common to openly degrade women to the standard of sex objects in bikinis at pool parties and refer to them as words that are not in my vocabulary, but also in Pop music where it is normal for man-bashing to be common.

Honestly, I don’t care what kind of music it is, if it negatively stereotypes either women or men, it bothers me.  I don’t take it lightly.  Both women and men deserve respect and honor, not to be damned into a stereotype of bimbos and idiots.

But with Country Music, it’s not something I really have to think about.  Because for every “you’re a no good liar” type of Country song that exists, there are a dozen “I love my wife and kids” songs to overpower it.  That’s not the case in other genres.

Granted, I don’t just listen to Country.  I love Jazz,  90’s Alternative, and anything in the likeness of Guster and Pete Yorn.

But when I hear a song like “People are Crazy” by Billy Currington, or “Love Without End, Amen,” by George Strait, there’s a connection there that just can’t be matched by even the coolest, trendiest Rock star.

“Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love,

A secret that my daddy said was just between us,

You see, daddies don’t just love their children every now and then,

It’s a love without end, Amen.”

Love Without End, Amen by George Strait

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