Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Little Bit o' Twang


I have moved into a new office and it plays the local country music station over a building-wide sound system. It's the only channel we can get. I have the ability to turn it off, but have discovered that most of the time I like the usually happy, slightly sexy beats playing in the background of my hectic, business-like schedule. A little bit o' twang can really lighten the mood when, say, a client tests positive for THC  and loses a job or doesn't quite meet the hiring criteria to get a desired position. It's hard to stay upset while Craig Morgan is belting out “Bonfire”.

Right this minute, however, I am slightly disturbed by it. I find myself typing in that galloping horse rhythm of country music. The cowgirl vibe is starting to take over, I think. Typing in Grand Ol' Opry beats is not totally unexpected. The genre is in my blood. My paternal grandfather played in a western band to supplement his income from farming for years; all the real, old, twangy stuff. He could play any instrument by ear, and all the while my little apple-on-a-stick-shaped grandma would be slapping her knee and stomping a foot to the tune. All my aunts and uncles have beautiful singing voices. One Uncle was pretty famous for his rendition of “A Boy Named Sue.” (Love you Uncle Owen!) My dad always wanted to be able to sing, and to his credit, sincerely tried. So this western music? It's in my DNA.

Also today? I wore cowboy boots. Okay, it is getting colder and flip flops, my preferred footwear (as it is as close to barefoot as I can get on a work day), don't quite cut it. And they are really only half cowboy boots, ankle boots to be precise. But lately, I find myself saying “dang” a lot and calling people “darlin” (not sure that is entirely professional when the darlin in question is a client and construction worker).

Country music definitely has it's plus side, though. As a poet, I love me some cowboy music lyrics like Carrie Underwood's “Before He Cheats”:

“Right now, he's probably slow dancing with a
bleached-blonde tramp
And she's probably getting frisky
Right now he's probably buying her some Fruity little drink
'Cause she can't shoot whiskey
Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool-stick
Showing her how to shoot a combo
Oh and he don't know...

That I dug my key into the side of his
Pretty little souped up four wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seat
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights
Slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats”

There's some gorgeous poetry in lyrics from songs like Dixie Chicks “Landslide”
and LeeAnne Womack's “I Hope you Dance”.

And you can always find a good laugh in lines like:

“Shut my mouth, slap your grandma” or “I bought the shoes that just walked out on me”
One of my English professors, a Chaucer and Shakespeare scholar, kept a quote-a-day calendar of country
music lyrics that was hilarious!

And the CMA Awards are always high on my list for entertainment value. I loved that moment, a few years back,  
when one of the presenters, with a deep country twang, turned to Sting (who was performing that night)
and asked “Is it all right if tonight we call you Stang?” Love this stuff. I truly do.

So, all in all, I'm kinda diggin' the country vibe at work. But in the car, I'm singing my lungs out to the
soundtrack from Les Mis or old 70's classic rock, or shedding tears to Jewel or Sarah Mclachlan.

Maybe my vast and eclectic taste in music will save me from stepping completely over the line that
separates twang from timbre, but don't be surprised if you hear me cry “Yee Haw!” over the next
sale on cowboy boots!