Bootcamp Day 16 — America

When I was growing up, I claimed to like almost all kinds of music — the only kind I was sure I didn’t like was country.

Of course, when I was growing up, there weren’t as many different sources of music as there are today — the idea of 60 channels of music, each playing a somewhat different variety, was as wild an impossibility as being able to choose between more than three TV shows would have been.

So the only country music I was ever exposed to was whatever was being broadcast on WXGI/950 — and I definitely didn’t like it. As far as I could tell, it was all the same song, twangy and irritating.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that there are many more kinds of music than I heard as a kid, and I’ve learned that I like many of them — not all, by any means, as the “F”s on my Bootcamp Scorecard show. But I have rarely gone back to a variety that I decided I disliked.

So I thought I was being generous when I predicted a “C” for today’s Bootcamp channel, America. And when I first tuned in this morning, my initial reaction wasn’t very favorable — the music was twangy and irritating.

But then Larry Gatlin’s “She Used to Be Somebody’s Baby” came on, and I realized that there was more to country music than I had known. I would have thought I was listening to gospel music, except that there was a bit of a twang in the voices.

I kept listening for a while and enjoyed most of what I heard; then I turned it off and went to work. I set the XMPCR back up, and tuned in, and again, I liked most of what I heard. There were even some songs which I knew and liked, such as Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” — I just hadn’t thought of those songs as being “country”.

Hey, there’s another familiar song on right now — Alison Krause’s “Man of Constant Sorrow” — I know the song (if not this performance) from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?“, a movie I really liked (especially for its music).

Today’s Bootcamp experience was a pleasant surprise, and I’ll be back for more (though I can’t decide between giving it a “B+” or an “A-“). Definitely a solid end to the week, and a huge improvement over the last couple of days.

Shabbat Shalom!