Saturday, February 5, 2011

of country songs and romance novels

I love all kinds of music, from opera to Celtic to rock. But in my humble opinion the best storytellers to be found anywhere on the airwaves are consistently on American Country music radio.

From Brad Paisley's "Anything Like Me," in which the singer sees a first sonogram of his son and imagines who he'll grow up to be, to Kenny Chesney's "Somewhere With You," about a man pining for a lost love in a heart-wrenching minor key, the folks who write and sing modern country music are even better than Conway and Loretta were at telling stories that speak to the masses and tug at the heartstrings. What impresses me most is that they do it so effectively in three minutes or less.

One crop of songs that has been resonating lately with the romance writer in me deals with the theme of intimacy, with getting to know another person on a very private level. They focus on the gift of being permitted to see the person that most of us never show to the outside world, and with the trust required to let down your guard and expose the silly, messy, vulnerable and sexy sides of yourself to a lover.