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3 Reasons Why I Like Country Music

When I was younger, I thought country music was beneath me: I didn’t listen to it much and felt contempt for the idea of it.

One day, I was in a convenience store buying some smokes for the road, and I happened to pick up a Brooks & Dunn CD, having no idea how famous they were or, indeed, who they were at all. For some mysterious reason -- or was it just serendipity at work -- I figured the CD might give me a few ideas for my own songs.

I was immediately hooked. What I came to like in Brooks & Dunn, and in other country singers I have learned to admire -- George Jones, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett, Tim McGraw, and many more -- are the following:

1. Country music is not obsessed with the new, continually declaring a previous generation “dead.” Instead, it honors its ancestors and traditions.

There has developed, to be sure, some conflict between “Traditional” and “Bro,” the latter preoccupied with girls, trucks, high fives and six packs, but the root note of the country chord, so to speak, remains inheritance and customary usage. Songs like Brooks and Dunn’s “Johnny Cash Junkie (Buck Owens Freak)” comprise a joyful pastiche of country songs and motifs, affirming pride in roots (appropriately rhyming with “boots”) that go back at least fifty years.