Thought Process–>Blakroc–>Billy Ray Cyrus–>Garth Brooks

12/01/2009

The Thought Process is a post that chronicles the scattered musical connections of a day in the life of SFCritic, providing an in-depth look at how I’m crazy about music.

In preparation for my flight back to SFC from NYC I loaded the new Blakroc album onto my Ipod. I’ve been blabbering about this album for months. Now having listened to it a few times, “Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)” ft. Mos Def and Jim Jones is the best (and first) single from the album. Jim Jones kills the track with his high (literally) flow that feels like it should float away until he spit poignant lines like “Most say I’m politically incorrect / most people are scared they spit indirect.”

I was listening to this track before takeoff when a woman approached me to sit down in the middle seat. “Someone has puked in my seat, is it okay if I sit next to you?” she asked. “No absolutely not that’s my leg room,” was my initial thought, but I smiled and replied “Yes, of course.” This is the difference between a kid from CA and NY–passive politeness.

I forgot about my scrunched knees as I discovered the woman was rather interesting. She was upset because her family had guilt tripped her for choosing to live in CA, hoping they could coax her to live closer to them. Surprisingly, her family is not Jewish, eliminating the stereotype that only Jewish mothers guilt trip their children. As the conversation continued, I asked her, “What music do you listen to?”

Most people reply to this question with a general, “everything.” Some people say, “everything, but country,” which is a suggestive “I’m cool, I know country isn’t.” Rarely does someone my age admit that they like country unless they’re Southern or like NASCAR. This woman however, stated she liked “everything and country,” though she also admitted an interest in NASCAR. I didn’t pry further, I’ve learned that asking for particular artists is cumbersome for the non-music addict like myself, in a similar way as asking “What political party are you affiliated with?” and following up with a inquiry about their personal affinity to the respective platform.

My first exposure to country music was Billy Ray Cyrus’ (Miley Cyrus’ dad) “Achy Breaky Heart.” In third grade, my entire class practiced line dancing on the blacktop at 8AM. Ideal or not I’ve forgotten the steps, but not the song.

I had ignored country until the first weeks of my freshman year of college when I couldn’t escape it. Across the hall of my dorm floor a kid would blast Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Roll” at a decibel that echoed through the halls. The song was easily recognizable for its introduction of a thunder storm brewing. I introduced myself to this kid, whom I discovered was from Tennessee, and later, was appropriately nicknamed, “Tennessee.” Unfortunately, Tennessee didn’t introduce me to any other artists until years later (Super Furry Animals), as his CD collection consisted of a repeat of Johnny Cash, Cat Stevens, and an American Bluegrass mix.

To this day I love this Garth Brooks song. If you ask me what music I like, I won’t say everything, but I will say, “I’m learning to appreciate country.”