When I lived in the states, I became obsessed with two things that might be considered typically American: baseball and country music.
I resisted country music for the longest time but it seemed to pervade all aspects of my life over there. It was on the radio and on the TV; it was blasted out over the public address system at baseball games and at the mall; it was played by local bands of varying abilities in neighbourhood bars. Eventually I just got pulled in by the great vocals and songwriting that tells a story.
Since returning to Blighty, I’ve managed to catch a few country acts on tour: Dolly Parton (twice!), LeAnn Rimes, Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain. But my favourite country artist of them all—Tim McGraw—has yet to visit my home town. He has, however, just released a new album, Emotional Traffic.
I was given Emotional Traffic as a present and have been listening to it a lot this week. Each time I press ‘play’, this collection of 12 tracks just takes me right back to my life on the other side of the pond. According to the huge promotional sticker on the front of the CD case, Tim considers Emotional Traffic his “best album ever.” For me, it doesn’t quite match the highs of earlier releases, such as A Place in the Sun and Set This Circus Down, but it’s still pretty darn good. Right now, I’m listening to Tim and his wife Faith Hill duet on track 3, One Part, Two Part.
Enthused by listening to Mr McGraw’s dulcet tones, my plan for the rest of the afternoon is to dig out some more country gold from my music collection: Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina, Bonnie Raitt, Phil Vassar, Reba McIntire, SHeDAISY. And not forgetting the original soundtrack to Reese Witherspoon movie Sweet Home Alabama.
I fear I may be some time…