Country music lyrics are the Shakespeare sonnets of the South

I’m a little bit country, he’s a little bit…well, classical. Or at least that’s our preferred taste in music! I’ve been to many a symphony with him, and he’s actually been dragged by me to a Crystal Gayle concert.  Country music makes me laugh and cry, while classical music makes me pensive and usually (I admit sheepishly)  sleepy. Ironically, he grew up in the country not far from Moody, Alabama which his ancestors founded, and I grew up in Denver – not exactly the epicenter of country music!

But I respond to the lyrics of country music viscerally!  So when I first heard the song, “Paint me a Birmingham“, it struck a deep chord. (Click here to hear the Tracey Lawrence version)

We’d been searching for another project, and that song captured the essence of something we thought we could do.  After all, he’s been painting Birmingham for years – but this goes beyond that…  It challenges us to create an image of Birmingham that exists in the mind of everyone who’s ever lived here.  And it’s more than just images – we want to capture the emotion expressed by the lyrics.  “Make it look just the way I planned” and make me feel happy when I look at this painting, remembering times and people and places that I’ve loved and continue to love.

It’s a daunting task, and maybe impossible, but now when I hear that song – for the hundredth time – I laugh or cry, raise my arms in the air and sway them back and forth, or grab my husband and kiss him.  Classical music never did that for me, but country music?  Absolutely!  Irreverent, current, poetic, satirical, lyrical, emotional, compassionate, and at times healing, country music captures our humanity.  I think Shakespeare would approve!


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