“Miranda, who?”, “You mean the guy married to Nicole Kidman?”, “The only country I listen to is Taylor Swift.” – These are all responses that I have heard over the years when trying to explain my passion for country music. New Yorkers just don’t get it, which is currently changing for the better. I was born and raised in Staten Island, top 40 radio always on with Z100 being the only “cool” station to listen to. When I was around 13, I realized I was listening to the wrong type of music my whole life and my world got a little bit brighter. Not completely sure how, but I listened to Martina McBride’s ‘Concrete Angel’ and I immediately fell in love. The content of the song deals with a heavy topic of abuse but leaves you with as much sadness and awareness as it does hope. From this point on I realized music spanned much further then what I was listening too and that’s where it all began.
Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, George Straight, Dixie Chicks, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Reba, you name it, I was digging for the new stuff, the old stuff, anything I can get my hands on. At the time there was no radio station in New York City so I would sit and watch the music videos for hours on CMT. And thank God for the internet where I was able to start catching bands before they were anyone. The first time I heard Lady Antebellum, you just knew, that was it, they were on the brink of where country music was going, falling into that “Keith Urban” niche. The first time I heard the first chords of ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’, I can’t even explain it. A few years later and Lady Antebellum is on the top of their game, headlining instead of opening. Country songs have life to them, every note, every word, you can feel it, you can relate to it, you can cry with it, laugh with it, party with it. I really could go on about the power of this genre but I suppose I should get back to my point.
That’s the other great thing about country music. Everyone is friends with each other and loves to go on tour together. You go see Brad Paisley and you’ll catch Chris Young, and Lee Brice who are headliners in their own rights – it’s like the greatest bargain ever! Speaking of Brad Paisley, go see him, now, I am not kidding – he is clever, brilliant and can just kill it on the guitar. At country concerts you realize how massive this community is, you make friends with people from all walks of life and really just get away from life for a few hours. Anyway I guess I should start getting to the point of this blog.
Luke Bryan and Keith Urban both headlined Madison Square Garden this month. The center of New York City has country concerts now; I don’t think I can explain how crazy this is to me. I used to have to drive at least an hour away to go see Brad Paisley or catch Luke Bryan at some small venue where he packed it out. Now a days, country music in New York is getting the attention it deserves. This is a huge thanks to the community who was always here but was never heard. Now country fans are getting recognized thanks to more shows coming here and Nash FM. The amount of phone calls I got the week Nash FM hit the airwaves, I can’t even count. Thanks to Nash FM, people who never heard a lick of country are now giving it a listen, even if it is just an accident because they caught it mid Taylor Swift or Lady A song.
Country is here to stay New York City, so hop on board.