Monday, November 29

Deserter or Loyalist?

I've been thinking about the music I listen to lately. A lot of it is tied to my Southern/Texan roots. I love songs like "Sweet Home Alabama," "Down on the Corner," and just about everything by John Denver. I could sing along to parts of the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack the first time I saw the movie. I not only know who the Kossoy Sisters and the New Christy Minstrels are, I can sing the harmonies on several of their songs.

But I don't want to live in the Texas Panhandle, where I grew up, ever again. I still love that landscape, the wide open prairies and the brilliant night skies. But I'm a university sort of person, and that culture doesn't exist up there.

So, by hanging on to these bits of culture, am I helping to preserve a bit of it, or am I being a traitor by simply "picking and choosing" the bits I like?

I don't like country music, and probably never will. I'm not feigning an interest in it just to be "Texan." But neither do I intend to give up the Southern music I like just because it makes me "weird" to listen to it. I genuinely like the songs "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," and "Christmas for Cowboys," and I'm not about to pretend that I don't. I'm not going to make anyone else listen to them (for which they can be thankful!) but I'm not going to act like I've outgrown them. If anything, I've grown into them. As a kid, I never liked bluegrass music, but as I've gotten older and learned to like Celtic music, I can see those roots in it, and see how it is the root of a lot of music that I really do like. I can listen to some of it now.

So, the question remains: traitor, or loyalist? Am I picking my culture to pieces, or helping preserve a little bit of it?

No comments: