September 9, 2008
Country music legend Loretta Lynn, the coal miner’s daughter, captured the America that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin touches in Lynn’s 1971 hit, “One’s on the Way.” The song contrasts the glitzy world of celebrities with the routine of the ordinary life of a woman in Topeka where: “The rain is a fallin’. The faucet is a drippin’ and the kids are a bawlin’, one of ‘em a toddlin’, and one is a crawlin’. And one’s on the way.”
There is a frustration extant in this country … We can’t make [the government] understand — we can’t make them, the celebrities and insiders, the important people, understand.
That’s what’s most refreshing about Palin. She is one of us. Her family is the one where the rain falls and the faucet drips and, no matter what, the family deals with it. These families go to work every day, send their sons and daughters off to fight the country’s wars, nurse their children through crisis, and walk proudly together to face the troubles that come their way.
I’m fascinated by the idea that someone would cast their vote for a candidate simply because they see themselves reflected in that candidate, irregardless of policy positions or experience. However, I’m not particularly surprised. People are intrinsically drawn to the familiar and that which they can personally relate.
Part of the reason I love country music is because it tells human stories—relatable stories—about love, loss, heartache, family and home. However, I relate to some songs and artists more so than others, and it’s those songs and artists that comprise the core of my country music collection.
The question is whether you need to relate to the song or the artist in order to enjoy (or, more importantly, love) the music?
Do you need to be a woman or a redneck to love Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman”? Do you need to be a small town southern man to enjoy Alan Jackson’s recent hit? Did you have to grow up on a farm to not feel stupid singing along to Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”? Do you need to be a teenager to be excited by Taylor Swift’s “Our Song”?
Do you gravitate towards artists to whom you can relate—either personally or musically?