Jules’s Jukebox: My Dad’s Country

I mention my mother’s influence on my musical taste quite a bit, because she shaped my taste in pretty much all of the arts–she took my brother and I to movies, art museums, and concerts. Dad, on the other hand, coached our little league teams and took us fishing. Dad’s musical taste definitely reflects his small town Oklahoma upbringing. When we rode in the car with Mom, the station was always on Top 40 or rock. When we rode in the truck with Dad, the radio was always tuned to country and the CB was crackling. When we rode with the two of them together–cue the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven as classical was the only genre upon which they could agree. Needless to say, my brother and I grew up exposed to a variety of influences.

I surprise people today by always including a handful of country songs on my EDM/Rock laden playlists. I’m a huge Johnny Cash fan. It’s hard not to like the Man in Black. So I toss a couple of Cash on the lists. Joining him usually are George Strait and Toby Keith.

George Strait, dubbed the King of Country, was the first country singer that I knew all of his songs by heart. Songs like “Marina del Rey” and “You Look So Good in Love” played at the local honky tonks with regularity. How do I know? My friends and I knew which dance halls didn’t check for IDs. And where I grew up, honky tonks and two stepping were the name of the game. There was no way were driving to the city to look for a pop/rock venue. King George performing as the OKC Fairgrounds was the first country concert I ever attended–and I knew all the songs. I’d love to see him again, but $400 for a seat at MGM Gardens in Vegas is a little out of my price range at the moment.

On the other hand, I’ve been to see Toby Keith a couple of times. His accessibility has been a draw for me and my son. We’ve seen him at the San Manuel Amphitheater twice now, and he puts on a crowd-pleasing show complete with blow up solo cups and a video duet with Willie Nelson. I’ve always felt a little bit of a connection to Keith as he grew up about 30 miles from my hometown. We are both OU Sooners. And we are both outspoken loudmouths–him probably a little more than me with a much bigger bully pulpit at his disposal. Even if I don’t always agree with his comments and the controversy that surrounds him, I admire his business acumen (he’s one of the wealthiest country music stars worth $500 million–earning an average of $48 million annually), and his ability to adjust with the times while keeping his unique sound. Songs like “I Wanna Talk about Me,” “Red Solo Cup,” “Beer for My Horses,” and “Weed with Willie” are tongue-in-cheek fun songs that contrast with his deep patriotism in songs like “American Soldier,” (an absolutely beautiful video) “Call a Marine,” and “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.”

So today’s quarter in the jukebox buys two of my favorites from King George and Cowboy Toby.

“Amarillo by Morning” by George Strait

I always identified with this line: “I ain’t got a dime but what I got is mine/I ain’t rich, but Lord I’m free…”

“Whiskey Girl” by Toby Keith

Yep, I do turn up my nose at beer and champagne. And Jameson, Jack, & Makers are my go-to guys. 😉

“She ain’t into wine and roses
Beer just makes her turn up her nose and
She can’t stand the thought of sippin’ champagne
No Cuervo Gold Margaritas
Just ain’t enough good burn in Tequila she needs
Somethin’ with a little more edge and a little more pain
She’s my little whiskey Girl
She’s my little whiskey Girl
My Ragged-on-the-edges girl
Ah, but I like ’em rough…”

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