We used to spend summers going to Highland games across Ontario - and one weekend each year we'd head to a place called Phelps in New York State. It was a festival which entailed bagpipe bands as part of a parade through the town to a fair grounds. We used to camp with all the other pipe band families. At night all the pipe band members would go to the local legion and hang out with the war veterans, marines and soldiers of all classes. They all bonded while country music acted as the backdrop to their late nights.
It was strange to see all these Scotsman wearing cowboy hats while in kilts, drinking bud and sharing stories of their lives. It was actually perfect - and I loved going there each summer. It's where I first learned of country music.
I watched the Canadian Country Music Awards this past weekend on CBC. It was great. It was amazing to see how much these folk care for their art and one another. They're a community first before anything else and hold each other in such high regard. They're in it for the right reasons and that's for the music itself.
I had the pleasure of working on a few great country albums over the years and it taught me a bit about the culture. It's deep routed and welcomes you with arms wide open.
Here's a few great country tracks I have fallen in love with over the years and the reasons why.
Glen Campbell - 'Rhinestone Cowboy'. My Dad played the heck out of this record when we were young. Fond memories come flooding back with each listen. George Canyon did his version of it on the CCMAs last night.
I'm sure that this is a strange list as there are so many great country songs out there - but these are special to me. This genre may not be the first thing I reach for in a play list - but I respect it and can appreciate it.
Thanks for reading/listening.