Amy and I recently went to a country music festival in London, the first the UK has ever seen supposedly, and we thought it’d be cool if we both shared our views/opinions on it here on our blog!
The festival was called Country 2 Country, and as I said, it was the first of its kind here in the UK.
Firstly, I am staggered by that, although country music is far from being mainstream, it is still very popular!
Secondly, it amazed me how many people turned up to the two day country extravaganza – held in the o2 arena in London – kitted out in Stetsons cowboy boots and checked shirts. It almost seemed like a fancy dress event.
I won’t go into detail of my personal history with country music, as Amy covered most of it in her own blog, basically explaining how we grew up listening to country music, so it was bound to have some kind of influence on our taste!
I really do love country music now. In more recent years it started off with liking, believe it or not, Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus… I know she’s far from being country, but she certainly has country roots. That then led me to liking Taylor Swift, who, when she started off, was pretty countrified in her song writing and singing. She has gone seriously pop/mainstream now though, but it’s a good bit of country pop!
This has, however, slowly led me into the more, for want of a better word, hardcore country artists!
I think the thing I like the best about country music is the story telling that happens in almost every song. Country artists are not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeve and tell it how it is. And if they’ve not got much of a story to tell they’ll put their talents to someone else’s tail!
Another big thing I love about country music is that people aren’t afraid to talk about faith. I’ve mentioned this before in a blog in previous years, that in TV shows in the US they talk about God with no hesitation, but in the UK everyone just seems so crazily PC obsessed that nobody would dare to utter the word God (apart from when used as a curse word) or talk about faith in case anyone was offended.
Country songs often refer to relying on God, people’s stories and how they’ve leant on God when they’ve needed Him, how God plays a huge role in their lives, and as a person who does lean on God, rely on Him and trust that He plays a massive part of my daily life I really love this!
I think my favourite part of the whole C2C experience was how God seemed so present in the room, even though it was far from a Christian event. LeAnn Rimes sang Amazing Grace acapella which gave me serious goose bumps, and the reaction of the crowd was incredible, I felt it can only have been because of their relationships with God that they reacted that way. Carrie Underwood also sang How Great Thou Art, after her songs Jesus Take The Wheel and Temporary Home, so it was a trio of songs of worship and surrender to God, which blew me away!
I love how in that environment I felt it was so normal for these people to share their faith and not feel threatened. I felt incredibly blessed to be in that environment!
Anyway, I feel like I’m going off on a tangent…
Country music and Christian behaviour seem to go hand in hand. One artist sang a song that he introduced as being about how if he was in a bar and saw some guy hitting on a girl in front of him, how he wouldn’t stand for it, he’d step in and stop him from taking advantage. This attitude is brilliant, because it’s a gentlemanly attitude that I don’t think we really see in this country apart from in church (well, I’m yet to experience it anyway). I think it seems to me that that is the attitude of people who come from southern USA, and it’s one of the big attractions of visiting that part of the world for me.
A new favourite song of mine is Tim McGraw – Real Good Man. In the song he sings about how he is a real bad boy, how he likes drinking, going out having a good time and all that, but then that he is also a real good man. I love the idea that you can go out, have a good time with whatever you’re doing, but when it comes down to it, your core values and beliefs are good and strong so you won’t go too far wrong and you’ll always do the right thing.
I am probably idolising the South as something it’s not, and I’ll be bitterly disappointed when I turn up there one day to find it’s nothing like I expect it to be, but for now, I can dream!
Since going to C2C, I’ve decided that I’m going to start saving up for a good holiday, so hopefully I’ll find out about the South for myself soon enough!