Let me start today’s post by saying I’ve never been anti-country music.
The thing is, I consider myself to be a music lover, not a some-types-of-music-that-I-like lover. So I’ve made it my goal to remain open-minded to all kinds of music, including ones that I wouldn’t traditionally listen to. With that in mind, I’ve always had a few country favorites. Johnny Cash is outstanding, and anything by George Strait that was included in the 1992 film Pure Country is a favorite (you can thank my longtime favorite actor Kyle Chandler for the fact that I know that movie at all). But lately, I’ve had a deeper appreciation for and enjoyment of country music, to the point where I consider some country songs among my favorites, and I have the CMT series Nashville to thank.
I am more or less a Hulu addict, so it was only a matter of time before I noticed Nashville in my suggested shows panel. Once I did, I decided to give it a shot, especially since I’ve always been curious about it and also am a fan of Connie Britton and her work on Friday Night Lights. I figured it would be an entertaining way to spend rainy days or quiet evenings. What I didn’t know was that Nashville was going to impact both my view of country music and my understanding of the music industry as a whole.
I’m not going to get into too many details, since I hate spoilers and this isn’t really a TV review blog, but the basics of the show are as follows: country music singers, producers, and songwriters and their families, friends, and coworkers struggle to find success and happiness in Nashville, TN. Along the way, they battle everything from alcoholism to postpartum depression to losing everything they ever dreamed of. The main premise of the story is enough like any other nighttime soap-style drama series that I believe even those who can’t stand country music would enjoy watching this series — it is downright addicting.
Although Nashville‘s relatable human drama is extremely appealing, what I found most eye-opening was having a first-hand, albeit dramatized and I assume very fictional, look at what it is like to work in the music industry, especially the country music industry. These people work HARD — sometimes at the expense of other important areas of their lives. This sneak peak into the (again, fictional) world of music helped me learn to appreciate anyone who works in the music industry more than ever, but also to appreciate those who work in country music. There just seems to be a certain down-to-earth honesty in country lyrics, and a passion in the voices of country singers, that makes the music seem so comforting and relatable. It seems to me that, as the series’ seasons have gone on, the actors in Nashville have developed as much love for their songs as any real-life country singer would.
I may not be the best judge, but the country tunes in this series are just EXCELLENT. Some stand outs are “Stronger Than Me,” “No One Will Ever Love You,” and “My Song,” which I have on repeat right now — there is something so powerful in the lyrics sung by Clare Bowen regarding finding your own path and having faith that you are doing what’s right for you. It’s these tunes that have got me listening to Johnny Cash, George Strait, and older Taylor Swift songs again, because I forgot how emotional and just plain catchy country music can be.
I never thought Nashville would be a series that had this much impact on me, but it did — and I suggest my readers check it out, too, because it is just that special.