Thursday, April 29, 2010

Guest Blog: Tim Wildsmith's battle with country music

Since I'm gone this week, I decided to let you guys have some guest blogs. This one comes from local singer/songwriter Tim Wildsmith who, though he once lived in Nashville, never really liked country. But some things change...

I’ve never liked Country music.


I hated it actually.

At first I think I didn’t like it because as a kid it’s just not something we had around our house. My parents listened to The Beach Boys and The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival. My grandmother had the best Elvis 8-track collection on earth. My sister was into new Kids On The Block.

Country was just never something we were listening to.

So imagine my surprise when now, at the age of 27 and well past my formative music discovery years, I’m finding myself drawn to and actually enjoying this genre that I’ve always despised. It’s both annoying and a little embarrassing. But I just can’t help myself.

I should have known this was coming. The signs have been there since the beginning. In fact, my very first CD purchase in middle school was “Cracked Rear View” by Hootie and The Blowfish. C’mon… you know that album has some moments of twang. Not to mention that lead singer Darius Rucker is now a full-fledged member of the Country community. He even closed the Academy Of Country Music Awards this month.

As I got older it was all about Alternative, and naturally my hatred for Country grew. When you’re into bands like Nirvana and Bush and Third Eye Blind it’s pretty obvious that Shania Twain and Faith Hill aren’t gonna do much for you. Country music to me was a bunch of rednecks singing about beer and horses... and feeding beer to your horses.

(Time Out)

This is the part of the blog where I choose whether or not I should talk about my Creed phase. On one hand, it could certainly move the Country hatred plotline forward. But on the other hand, it’s



(Time In)

Now... I really should have seen it coming when I moved to Nashville for college. I was sunk at the point.

Nashville is a tricky place, because at first your hatred of Country only grows because you’re so overwhelmed by it. It’s everywhere. And it’s annoying. But before you know it, you’ve fallen in love with this city and you realize that Country music is part of the reason you love it so much. The people singing about beer and horses are generally pretty nice. They tip well. They smile a lot. They're hard not to like.

And they have a few trump cards up their sleeves for when your deck is stacked against them.

Two words: Ryman Auditorium.

There is no better venue to watch live music.

My first Ryman experience was a Willie Nelson and Friends concert special. Yes, I’m serious. I was sitting there, right down front, taking in how incredible the whole thing was when the guy next to me stood up and walked on stage. The dude looked like hell, and he lit a cigarette. I looked to see where security was gonna come from when Willie says, “Ladies and gentlemen, Ryan Adams.”

Yep. I was sitting next to Ryan Adams. Better still, I had no idea who he was. So I bought his album called “Gold.” Now that was really the beginning of the end for me. Ryan Adams and his alt-country glory led me down the rabbit hole. It was rock and roll with a country soul.. or maybe the other way around. I loved it. I loved it the same way I love Wilco now. I can hear the country influence in them too.

I started to respect Country, but I still didn't like it. And no one could make me.

And then the dagger came... and it came from the most likely place… The King of Country.

My girlfriend, a Nashville-based country singer (yes.. still not sure how that happened), used to intern at George Straight’s record label. So she calls me one day and says, “I got you a couple of tickets to see George Straight tomorrow night.”

I said, “Why?”

She said, “C’mon! You should go! Do it for me.”

The next thing I know I’m walking into the Qwest Center and the guy at will call hands me two 5th row seats to a sold out George Straight concert. 5th row. My buddy Jake and I made our way down front, through a sea of rednecks I never knew the Midwest could produce, and took in all the Country that George and Reba could give us.

And I liked it.

I have no idea how, but I really liked it. George was a stud. And Reba was kinda hot. Both of their bands were incredible. There was absolutely no pretense. It was a big party, and we were all invited.

I like Country music.

Now, let's be clear. I'm not going to start buying every Taylor Swift album that ever comes out. I'm not buying a pair of boots or a 10-gallon hat. I'm not feeding any beer to any horses, and I'm certainly never going to be caught dead at a Kenny Chesney concert (I gotta draw the line somewhere).

But when my girlfriend calls you might hear a little twang in my ringtone.

And you won't hear me say "Anything but Country" when asked what I want to listen to on the radio.

So… I guess I like Country.

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