Monday, November 21, 2005

I Walk the Line

So I saw the Johnny Cash movie this weekend. And no, I did not see Harry Potter. I felt like he would get enough love, and with tickets at ten bucks a pop there was only room for one new movie this weekend.


So we saw John and June and I loved it. I thought it was brilliant. Brilliant performaces and a truly great story. (And I took special joy out of knowing who Waylon Jennings was.) I loved picturing Jerry Lee Lewis hanging with John Cash and Elvis and Roy Orbison. I love the thought that greatness every once in a while intercepts with itself. And I loved all the music.

And yes, I just announced that out loud. Internet, I loved every single second of that old-timey country. And not just in the context of the movie. People, I am not just walking the line - I've crossed it. I might be a fan of country music.

Now don't get me wrong. I would recognize very little of what plays on the radio. I'm not a radio listener, really, anymore. But I have found that since moving to this city and dating Sam, my musical interests have expanded a bit.

When I first got to NYC I relished the few bits of country music I had. It reminded me of home. Of pick-ups and state fairs and open fields. Of the smell of hay and the the farms along the interstate. I can try to be as metropolitan as possible, but I am a great plains girl at my heart. I prefer open spaces and long stretches of highway. Thunderstorms that tumble over the horizon and race to you. And yes, even the small, dirty, tacky wooden bars where all they serve is four kinds of beer and bad gin. There's home in all of that to me. And the country songs I had saved over the years to mix CDs brought of it all to me once again.

So I would walk the crowded streets to the sounds of Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks. I would fight down thirty fourth street, my heart heavy with absent friends and places. Then Dar Williams led me to Alison Krauss who in turn led me to all kinds of new music and people. And then Sam moved in, and DEAR LORD that boy. He's a cowboy at heart, really. And I now had more country music on my iPOD then I ever wanted or needed.

And I liked it. I liked two-stepping in the living room with Sam to Alabama. I loved driving through Texas late late at night and having Sam tell me about Luckenbach, Texas with Waylon, Willie and the boys. I loved listening to Biggie wax poetic to me about Keith Whitley and then buying the whole album, unable to separate Biggs and Montana and that wonderful week from the music. It's become a part of too many memories for me NOT to like it.

And now, my ever-growing repertoire has grown to embrace Johnny Cash. Which is ironic, to happen now. Only because out in Lawrence, Kansas ten years or so back I saw him and June in concert. Only I had no idea who they were. It was fun, I enjoyed myself, but I didn't think twice about it. Much like I didn't think twice when I tossed my signed "Man in Black" poster a few years later. I had no idea who he was.

And now I do. And I wish I could go back in time and see that concert again. Now that I know the history and the stories behind the music. But I can't. What I will do, however, is sit back as I design at my desk and listen to a little FolSom County Prison. And maybe after that some Denver's Montana Sky.

It's funny. I've become so much more Midwestern after leaving the Midwest. Everything I fought against growing up I find myself finding pride in now. Who knew. And I know still, I'm no country girl. And I'm no city girl, that's for sure. In fact, I'm not so sure where I fit, really. But every once in a while I like to listen to those songs about open fields and mountains and horses and wildness and simpleness and think some day maybe I can be a part of all of it again, and this time appreciate it a helluva lot more.

1 comment:

Sweet Sammy said...

The man in black RULES! How can you go wrong with lyrics like:

Early one mornin' while makin' the rounds
I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down
I went right home and I went to bed
I stuck that lovin' .44 beneath my head

Got up next mornin' and I grabbed that gun
Took a shot of cocaine and away I run
Made a good run but I ran too slow
They overtook me down in Juarez, Mexico

- Cocaine Blues... Mr. Johnny Cash