January 30, 2008
A big Country Universe welcome to Leeann, a familiar face from the comments who will now be contributing for the site. As she’s already demonstrated through her contributions in the comments, she’s well-versed on country music. I’m tremendously excited that she’s chosen to share her talents as a writer here, and I fully expect the site to grow in quality as a result. As Toby Keith once sang, we could really use “A Woman’s Touch” around here! - Kevin
Hi, I am Leeann. I live with my incredible husband, Bill, and my super cool guide dog, Amigo. I work as a Teacher of Children with Visual Impairments (TVI). I am very excited about the opportunity that Kevin has offered me to express my feelings on one of my favorite subjects—country music. I have been enjoying this blog for some time now and really respect the hard and quality work that Kevin has put into it. I am honored to be a part of it. As an introduction, Kevin has asked me to discuss my personal connection to country music and how I feel about today’s offerings.
I can clearly recall the first songs I ever heard on country radio. When I say “heard”, I don’t mean the sounds that my ears transmitted to my brain, but rather the sounds that my ears transmitted to my soul. Of course, I hadn’t been oblivious up until then. I had obviously heard songs like “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Friends In Low Places” due to their crossover appeal. But on one particular Saturday, about 14 years ago, I really paid attention. My radio was tuned to Lon Helton’s Country Countdown USA. As I remember it, coming from my speakers were songs from artists I had heard for the first time—George Strait, Neal McCoy, Mark Chesnutt, John Michael Montgomery, Vince Gill, John Anderson, Joe Diffie, Clint Black, Wynonna, Doug Stone, Clay Walker, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Doug Supernaw and even George Jones (High Tech Redneck”). Just to name a few. Although I was so young and couldn’t exactly personally relate to the songs, I was instantly captivated by the music. On an even deeper level, music has helped me through some challenging times in my life.
Country music is what helped me through four eye operations, in the space of two months, that eventually failed. During those difficult times, country music soothed my soul. Because of the operations, I was on some strong medicine that made me very sick and caused me to feel on edge. I can vividly recall that any other genre of music would literally make me feel physically sick. There was a time, while I was on the medicine that my sister, Rachel, was really into Ace of Base’s “The Sign.” She would play it over and over again. I just remember that while that song was playing, my head felt as though it would explode. Fortunately, my music tastes have expanded considerably since then, but country music remains, by far, my very favorite genre.
As I tried to illustrate above, my dedication to country music began in the early to mid-nineties. The sound of country music has changed since then. People like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban have introduced undeniably unique sounds to the country music scene. While the songs of the mid ‘90s will always hold a special significance for me, my taste is certainly not limited to that era. With the exception of the eighties, I have come to embrace the country music of the decades that preceded the’90s as well. Likewise, I embrace the country music sounds of today. This is not to say, of course, that I will not be critical of songs in the genre from time to time. We all know that I will. Just be sure to take my comments as my opinion. Rest assured that I do.