Blame it all on my roots part 1

Christmas is not a huge deal in the Winchel house. Our "kids" are furry, have four legs, and didn't know it was anything other than Wednesday...and Mike and I have worked every Christmas we've been together. (Holiday pay? Merry Christmas to me!)

But we did cook a nice steak dinner, drank some wine, and gave each other presents. I got Mike a new shirt from American Eagle. Because, apparently I'm his aunt. What he got me was WAY better:

Mike's present also included me doing my hair and wearing actual clothes during dinner. Lucky guy.
Garth! Garth Brooks' Blame it all on my Roots box set. Some people say Garth Brooks ruined country music. A lot of people think he's a cocky bastard. He probably is. But his songs and his voice and his gift for turning in an absolutely electric performance are undeniable.

I think the music you listen to between the time you're old enough to appreciate music and your teenage years always holds a special place in your heart. I grew up with '90's country radio.

Just a few tidbits about how this stuff got woven into the fabric of my soul:
  • When I was little, my favorite tapes (tapes, kids) were Ricky Skaggs and Hank Williams Junior. Yes, four year old Carrie wearing She-Ra pajamas and coke-bottle glasses singing along with "A Country Boy Can Survive." 
  • One of my family's favorite activities was driving around. We would go to McDonald's or Sonic for ice cream and then just drive around Ozark. The radio was always on KTTS, or what was then "My Country 100.5." 
  • The biggest reason for my deep country love was probably Friday nights when my brother and I would stay with my Grandpa and Grandma Schroeder. Grandma and I would just sit there and watch CMT and TNN all night. (Who remembers The Nashville Network?!) I don't think Grandma liked Garth very much. Her favorite was Don Williams, who is probably the anti-Garth.
I loved all of those songs. The melodies, the lyrics. Mostly the melodies. Steel guitar and fiddle touches a part of the soul that nothing else can. Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Reba, Trisha Yearwood, Sawyer Brown, Tracy Byrd, and John Anderson were a few of my favorites.

Then Garth came along. I've been watching the music video DVD that came with that massive box set, and I feel like he was one of the first country singers to act like a freakin' rock star. Of that generation, anyway. That's probably why some people didn't like him. Running around all over the stage, FLYING over the audience, breaking guitars. Rock acts like KISS had been doing that for decades, but I didn't know that. I'd never seen anything like it. I thought Garth was the bomb. My brother and I watched every live TV special he did during his heyday. 

And his songs. I LOVED them. All of 'em. The stories, the music, the melodies, and his voice just got me.

Country became so not cool when I hit junior high. I started listening to more pop and rock music and was a TRL superfan in high school. We don't really need to delve into my Christian music phase. Then I revisited country when I went away to college and longed for home.

That's what that era of country--especially Garth Brooks' music--is to me. It's home and it's safe. It takes me back to a time when I could dream about anything I wanted to be--and it felt possible. Back when I thought my parents were perfect. When I could just sit in my room and play my favorite songs over and over again. There was no stress, no disappointment, no worry, and no anxiety or insecurity. I think I experienced a lot of those things too early. In a lot of ways, I grew up too fast. But I actually got to be a kid when I was enjoying music.

I'll write an actual review of Blame It All on My Roots soon!