My Letter To Country Music
My time as Southern Fellow led to this letter. I took some time to reflect on the past year. Some of you will feel as I do. There will be others that disagree or feel misunderstood. This letter represents the views of a simple man. Thank you to everyone who has become part of the Southern Fellow family and allows me to open my heart on these digital pages. Each of you mean the world to me and have impacted my life more than I could ever express in words.
Dear Country Music,
This letter has been a long time coming. When starting Southern Fellow I did not have the first idea where this road would take me. I have spent 7 months, conducted over 30 interviews and have had hundreds of conversations with talented people who have found a home in your genre. This road I have been on has delivered me to your doorstep more than once. Yet, lately when I visit you are hardly recognizable. The road to you that was at one time dirt is now paved over with highway. Your warm wood framed walls are now replaced with cold concrete. The old rusted metal roof that brought comfort and music to all under it, is replaced with a modern flat top. The fields around you that were filled with anything you could grow are now being covered in strip malls and parking lots. All of this has made people like me feel forgotten and lost.
That dirt road was good enough. It got us where we wanted to go. When wet, rough or both, the ride led to good lyrics. That rugged wood frame that made your walls, held stories in every notch, knot and crack. It allowed all who entered to leave their mark like a family measures how much they have grown. The natural raw acoustics of that rusty metal roof provided a simple background for stories to be sung. Those fields represented life. They stood for those who worked them till their hands bled and the truck drivers who delivered their bounty to town. Those fields stood for those who use their hands to transform that raw material to items we all need and food to nourish our families around the dinner table.
Your music was simple and familiar. Yet, to many of us, you gave way to the glitz and glam to compete with your neighbors in other genres. Your stories were honest and accepting of people’s faults. You were the genre that real people could find comfort in. You have been there for weddings, funerals, breakups and all the other situations we find ourselves in. Now you look cold and everything looks the same. Those who used to find comfort, now feel trapped in a labyrinth of shallow lyrics and noise. Where are we supposed to go?
During my journey as Southern Fellow I have looked past the fake facade. I dug deep and realized you are not completely lost. Your bones are still there. There are still artist such as Dolly, Reba, Vince and George holding up what is left of that old wood frame. Not only that, but there are a few new artists, who board by board and nail by nail, are adding to those old walls. Ashley Mcbride, Melanie Meriney, Hasting & Co., Adam Wakefield, Shari Rowe, Adam Craig and Kayley Hill are a few I have seen first hand that are working to resurrect all the parts of you that have felt lost. These artists and others like them will make you a warm home again if you let them.
As for me, I promise to work everyday to remind you that your dirt road, rugged wood frame, rusted metal roof and those fields are irreplaceable to many people. I will remind you from time to time that fads change and fade, that remaining honest to yourself and standing strong no matter what direction the wind may blow will bring comfort to all that call your walls home. This is my promise to you.
P.S. Let the girls play. They have some good stories to share.