Happiness, heartache, hope - whatever you're looking for, country music has it. I started listening to country music when Luke was an infant. At 3 am when I was up walking the living room with him, my TV choices were infomercials or country music videos. We both preferred Randy Travis to Ron Popeil, so videos it was. Through the years, country music has remained a pre-set on my radio. Last fall, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so on this trip we routed through Nashville to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame.
It was funny to see how many phrases have entered the American lexicon that the kids finally got to learn the source of:
Roy Rogers, his horse Trigger and "Happy Trails to you!"
Variants of "Are you dressing like Minne Pearl now?" when there's a price tag hanging from your clothes.
The lyrics Neal croons when he gets home from work and is asking what's for dinner.
We just missed the huge Alan Jackson exhibit, but still saw plenty of him. There's a video on the history of country music on TV, including bits from the ACM awards, and his debut of "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" after 9/11. I still tear up when I hear the chorus. Another of the exhibits showed the handwritten lyrics of one of his first hits, "Chasing That Neon Rainbow".
Lyrics feature in many exhibits, and I was surprised how many classics they knew. Celia got these right:
"I Walk the Line" by the Man in Black, Johnny Cash
"Golden Ring" from the first King and Queen of Country, Tammy Wynette and George Jones. There are several exhibits where the two of them are featured together. Despite their tumultuous relationship, I don't think you can mention one of them in country music without the other -- over they years, they've just become the one-name, one-breath entity "Georgeandtammy."
You can trace country music through the evolution of its costumes:
Even bling-loving Celia though this one was a bit over the top. She liked the jacket, but thought the fringe was "a bit much."
Yes, Taylor Swift. She's part of the crossover-pop-country crew, but I admit, her songs aren't bad. (I've heard worse!) She also keeps up the bling tradition in both her costumes and her guitar.
Of course, there are exhibits on Elvis. He may be the King of Rock and Roll, but I think he wins the "King of Bling" title, too. After seeing his gold motorcycle at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and now his diamond-lacquered car and gold piano (the latter an anniversary gift from Priscilla), I can't imagine what Graceland is going to look like (but I'll report in after we've gone!).
When we were finished our visit, we were back out on the road.
After seeing the Glen Campbell-hosted presentation of country music stars on television, we wondered if the Ranch Kitchen serves chicken fried in Crisco.
Luke discovered he can take sunset selfies in the rearview mirror. I think it's time to get off the road for the night.
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