My Generation

You can take the country out of the boy, but not his parents.

The Beatles
A North Carolina kid who loved music, I grew up drawn to modern country. It fascinated me how a singer with an accent like my own (or that of Mom and Dad) could get things so pure and simple, dissecting a broken heart with the kind of precision that has everyone within earshot memorizing the words. I imagine it's the way my mom felt about the Beatles as a 10-year-old in '64, when her parents were the only family on her block with a color television. She was a celebrity in Mullins, South Carolina, the night the Fab Four appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and inked a culturally indelible image.

Appropriately, when I was 13, the Beatles were the band that pulled me away from my generation's country by proving that it was nothing more than a mindless recasting of melodies they had made better three decades earlier. I realized that, if I were lucky, a country song would rarely be more than the Beatles in my vernacular, maybe with a little slide guitar or muted mandolin for authenticity's sake. My parents encouraged me, buying Beatles anthologies and biographies for birthdays, but for themselves -- having already gone through their own rock or rhythm-and-blues phases (also known as college) -- stuck closer to the dull glow of modern Nashville.

In fact, they think my rockist aversion to such is a high-minded hoot. I could hear Mom smiling through the phone as she said that I needed to take Dad to see Kenny Chesney for Father's Day, or when she dropped this non sequitur: "Dad says you need to go get the new Dixie Chicks. You won't like the music -- but you don't like Bush, either."

No, it doesn't matter that she was exactly right.

Scroll to read more Music News articles
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.