In retrospect, September and October 2019 will forever be known as my Country Music period, during which I watched all 16.5 hours of Ken Burn’s documentary and was so in love with it that I wanted to live my life inside of it, so much that AS SOON AS I FINISHED IT, I STARTED IT ALL OVER AGAIN. I love its tiny insights into history, humanity, I love the struggles of its characters and how they fall in and out of love with each other and write songs about it that I’ve spent my life listening to, unaware of the brawls and longings that inspired them. I’ve learned so much, and instead of wandering around the house shouting at Morrison or Cracker HEY, DID YOU KNOW? (which I will definitely keep doing) I’m just going to leave a list of my favorite things, here.


  • The Banjo came from Africa, the Fiddle came from Irish and Scotland; early country music is defined by racial tension between black people and white people, but also, they were constantly using each other’s music as if the tension didn’t even exist
  • Merle Haggard was in San Quentin prison serving a 17 year sentence for armed robbery and prison escape when Johnny Cash played a show there. The show inspired Merle to quit to being a ne’er do well, get out of prison early for good behavior, and pursue music
  • Johnny Cash’s song A Boy Named Sue is based on a Shel Silverstein poem
  • Reba Mcentire was a prize winning barrel horse racer before she was discovered singing the Star Spangled Banner at a Rodeo
  • Willie Nelson wrote Patsy Cline’s Crazy. He had a lot of success as a songwriter, but people thought his voice was weird, not country enough. After years of rejection, he moved back home to Texas, did his own thing for his own people, and eventually became country music’s BIGGEST EVER STAR.
  • Garth Brooks was the first country musician to play shows like a rock star. In 1993, he played Texas stadium, which fit 40 thousand people. IT SOLD OUT IN 93 MINUTES.
  • Dolly Parton’s husband worked in asphalt before he retired. He has only been to ONE of her shows, ever. Early in their marriage, after attending a red carpet event with her, he said honey, I want you to have everything that you want, but please never make me go to one of those ever again. (This was not in the doc, this I discovered in an article about Dolly’s marriage, after becoming obsessed with Dolly’s marriage, because of the doc)
  • Vince Gill is the sweetest most gentlest man in history
  • Vince Gill is married to Amy Grant

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