Saturday, January 09, 2010

Breakup Letter

(Don't worry, Pistolero & I are still copacetic.)

Dear Nashville,

I fear that our relationship must end. I would give you the usual line of "it's not you, it's me," but the truth is that it is you. I simply can no longer tolerate the pain you have put me through over the years, and I have found someone much better, someone who treats me the way I need & deserve to be treated.

We did have some good years. I will admit to that. I remember, as a child, sitting on the front porch listening to Johnny Cash and the Charlie Daniels Band, and like any good San Antonian I rank George Strait right up there with the Spurs and Fiesta. I sang "Take Me Home Country Roads" when I lived in West Virginia and ever-after, and I never passed by a truck stop without "18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses" playing in my head. I saw Charley Pride in concert when I was but a babe-in-arms, and I've seen Hank Junior too, and Reba McEntire more times than I can count (as a favor to a friend), and Brooks & Dunn and I went to the first two George Strait Country Music Festivals and a whole bunch of other folks I just can't think of offhand. I treasure each of those memories (well, except the ones that involve Reba).

In truth, I've never been entirely true to you. I will blame this partially on my uncle, who distracted me with Queen and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on my friend Brandon who was quite fond of Guns & Roses and Metallica, and on my father and his predilection for doo-wop and MoTown. I strayed frequently, but I always came back to you, Nashville. I couldn't stay away from Waylon and Willie and Dolly and Loretta. I needed what you had to offer, Nashville, even when I began to realize it was dysfunctional. (Shania Twain, really?)

The beginning of the end was actually some time ago. Right around the time Garth Brooks abandoned his "worn out tape of Chris LeDoux" for "The Red Strokes" and "Standing Outside the Fire." I tolerated Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at that one George Strait concert to get to the King himself, but I will admit that I was seeing Eve 6 and Third Eye Blind on the side, and there was that whirlwind affair with Soundgarden.

I left you for a while right around the time I got married. I didn't really want it to be more than a trial separation, though, and the Dixie Chicks were enough to bring me back.

They weren't enough to keep me interested, and at the beginning of the new century I heard the man who'd finally give me the strength to leave you altogether. The man was Pat Green, and the song was Carry On. "Seems like you need a little Hill Country..." Why yes, Pat, yes I do. I will confess, Nashville, my heart was never fully yours after that. You kept me a little while longer by bringing me more of Pat's music, but you didn't keep true to him any more than you did to me, and that broke my heart.

I tried to leave you again when I moved back to Texas. KJ97 isn't too true to you. They would play Randy Rogers Band or Cross Canadian Ragweed every now and then, and that was enough to keep me hungry for something real, something more than you had to offer. I almost broke away from you by listening to a radio station out of New Braunfels, but I could only get it in the car, and then only when the wind was blowing from a certain direction. So my wayward heart couldn't quite lead me away yet.

The Internet has abetted my infidelity, and my friends have aided it. My friend David pointed me in the direction of Pandora. One day, battered and bruised by Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts, I turned to Pandora for comfort. Pandora cradled me and soothed my bruised nerves and not only played me Steve Earle (Remember him, Nashville? The guy you walked out on after "Guitar Town"?) but as much Cross Canadian Ragweed I could handle, and re-introduced me to Robert Earl Keen and Ray Wylie Hubbard and Pat Green, and brought me so many new men I didn't quite know what to do with myself.

I made the break in my heart then, but I didn't abandon you completely. I couldn't. I wasn't strong enough yet. But my boyfriend gave me strength. And a link.

Here's the truth, Nashville. You abandoned me long before I abandoned you. You jerked me around for years. For every Pat Green song you played three by Keith Urban. For every George Strait song you played five by Kenny Chesney. It hurt, Nashville. All I want from you, all I've ever wanted from you, is actual country music.

You can't give that to me. But Texas can. I know Tennessee and Texas have been friends since Davy Crockett's time, but I am sure that defender of the Alamo would even be disappointed in you these days.

The boys at KFWR give me what I need, Nashville. Did you know Radney Foster just released a new album? Of course not. You don't even know about The Rose Hotel, I'd wager. And I know you have no place in your heart for the likes of Hayes Carll and Bleu Edmondson and the Casey Donahew Band. But that's okay. I do.

So, Nashville, this is it. I have found out where the country music really is, and so I have no more need of you. I wish you all the best, really. Give my regards to George Strait and Gary Allan.



the pistolero said...

This was MADE OF WIN. I could have almost written it myself. I could comment on so many lines in this post that I'd be quoting the whole thing before I was done. Well done, honey, well done indeed. :-) I did love this line...
"You kept me a little while longer by bringing me more of Pat's music, but you didn't keep true to him any more than you did to me."

Out. Of. The. Forking. Park.

TBeck said...

Dear Nashville, you can go to Hell, I'm going to Texas!

BobG said...

"You can't give that to me. But Texas can."

Where Bob Wills is still the king.
-Waylon Jennings

Bob said...

Sounds like you're more an Americana fan than straight Country fan, now. Other names you might enjoy are Slaid Cleaves, James McMurtry, Mary Gauthier, Guy Clarke and the late, great Townes Van Zand.

I folled a link from Borepatch here, by the way. Nice blog!

Sabra said...

Sounds like you're more an Americana fan than straight Country fan, now.

Fair point, Bob--and goodness knows I love me some Slaid Cleaves--but the thing is, I'm not willing to cede country music to Nashville.