I could do one of the almost requisite Fourth of July posts, but the Manic Monday subject makes it possible to combine the two ideas and take the weekend off. The word country just happens to fit in with my current reading list as I'm about half way through "The Garth Factor" by Patsi Bale Cox. Patsi and I hang out on a political web site, so I consider her a friend as well as a very good writer. She knows country music about as well as any human being can, and it shows in all of the books she has written about some of the major stars of the business.
Having worked at a Country music station for five years while listening to the music a minimum of nine hours a day, five days a week, not to mention weekend remotes, I developed an appreciation for the range of styles and voices that I hadn't had before. This time at KNAX happened to closely coincide with the Garth phenomenon and the whole explosion of country music as a major genre. One thing you come to appreciate is the underlying themes of home, family, love, and really great lyrics that actually say something. What made Garth so remarkable was that while paying tribute to all of those values, he wasn't afraid to take on new issues.
In one of my favorite Brooks songs he is brave enough to say that there is always room for improvement. Even a country as great as ours still has a lot to do to bring the rights we herald to all of our citizens and with a lot of hard work, love and acceptance to the rest of the world. So as we celebrate our historical Independence, let us look forward to a time when "We Shall Be Free".