Monday, October 19, 2009

I am Lauren, honky tonk enthusiast

I've always had a thing for country music. My early childhood years were spent rocking out to Kicks 101.5, the local country radio. At just 3 years old, I was known for my mean renderings of Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochee" and, of course, Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart." I mean really, who doesn't love those songs? One day in Sunday School we were asked what we wanted our teacher (because we didn't know how to write yet, duh) to write on these big button pins that we had decorated. I think they were expecting to write nice things like "Jesus Loves Me" or "God is Great," but I wasn't going to sport a big button like that without advertising my very favorite song. So of course mine read "Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee" Unfortunately, "it gets hotter than the hoochie koochie" didn't fit... or at least that's what my sunday school teacher said.

Boy did I have a crush on Alan Jackson and that yummy blond mustache.
Country music is something I always seem to come back to. Once every couple of years I'll switch my car radio from NPR to the country station, just to get my fix. It's almost like in the interim I forget how much I love it, how good it makes me feel. It something about that twang... the twang of the "geetar," the twang in the voice. It just really gets me. You know, this just occurred to me, but it probably doesn't hurt that I can actually understand what they're saying. In so many other songs, mainstream or what have you, I have the hardest time making out the words. Country music, I can follow. Its the music of the people. (wait... of what people? my people? I don't even know... lets not go there)

Hm. Now I'm afraid I must go there... particularly since I'm not just any country music enthusiast, but a honky tonk enthusiast, to be precise. Honky tonk. I like the sound of that. Kind of reminds me of hoochie koochie. Nevermind. The word tonk comes from an old brand of piano. And the word honky, if you didn't already know, is just a cool name for us white folk. The term honky tonk was originally used to describe a type of bar in which music was/is played. Now it also refers to the subgenre of country music known for its upbeat tempo and lyrics that focus on working-class life, with frequently tragic themes of lost love, adultery, loneliness, alcoholism, and self-pity.

I can't talk about country music and not mention another all-time favorite... David Ball. Slightly lesser-known than Mr. Jackson, David Ball has got honky tonk down, no doubt. His 1994 album, "Thinkin' Problem" is contagious, each song catchier than the last. I sang his tunes ALL the way to school today. Unfortunately, YouTube has a severe shortage of David Ball videos, so I'll leave you with this all too familiar tune... where the enthusiasm was born...

honky tonk badonkadonk, honky tonk badonkadonk, honky tonk badonkadonk...
try saying that 10 times fast! great phrase... terrible terrible song