Prior to this point of discovering country (late 2005/early 2006ish) when ever I was asked, “What kind of music do you like?” My response was ALWAYS, “Everything! EXCEPT country and classical!” Oh the irony! Liking country music back then wasn’t considered “cool”… nor had I really ever given it a true chance. The first country song that I was introduced to was during the summer of 2000, Lonestar’s ‘Amazed’. I did absolutely love the particular song and the memories it invoked, however this one song did not turn me onto the country genre. A couple of years later in 2002, while visiting a friend in CT who loved country (who I happened to have a crush on of course!), he played me Randy Travis’s ‘Forever and Ever, Amen’. I of course downloaded it in Napster, or Morpheus, (or whatever the program of those days were) when I got back home. I did “secretly” also like Shania Twain, but that was about it, and all that I had been introduced to thus far.
Fast forward 3 or 4 years later. Oh the joys of house parties for those who have yet to turn 21! Those were the days! Our friend “Mikie P” had a lot of them, and during those, he was often DJing country tunes. Dust on the Bottle, Sweet Caroline, Nothing on But the Radio, and Live Like You Were Dying were a couple of the tunes he would play, and despite being a little afraid to admit it, I did like them. He began to list songs for me to download and although I did love them, I couldn’t name a single country station on the radio. I was still listening to my hip hop/rap/top 40 pop hits (and pop punk too at that time!).
Introduce Taylor Swift, circa summer of 2006. I was hooked. Instant obsession. ‘Tim McGraw’ and then ‘Teardrops on my Guitar’ and suddenly my world changed. I started to listen to the country stations on the radio and was surprised at how much I enjoyed all of the songs. I had no idea who sang any of them, but I knew them all by heart when they came on the radio. Back then, I wouldn’t have considered this the end-all-be-all, but I was certainly well on my way to a future that held more dreams than I had ever thought possible. It opened doors for me. It brought me to where I am today, leading this blessed life that I do, heading in the direction of following my heart, my compass, my arrow to wherever it points… The rest, as they say, is history! When I learned that Taylor Swift would be coming to the Civic Center in Portland Maine, opening for Rodney Atkins and Brad Paisley… I knew that I HAD to see her live. This was officially my very first country concert in September of 2007… I had to borrow the boots… but I did go out and buy that hat!
My goals and dreams in life did not really change though until April of 2011 when I won a “DREAM TRIP OF A LIFETIME” sponsored by JD Haas Entertainment, off of my local radio station, 99.9 The Wolf. But that is a whole other story in itself! I can honestly say that attending my very first ACM Weekend in Las Vegas during “The Week Vegas Goes Country” opened my eyes to the possibilities of my future and showed me a world that exceeded my wildest dreams. Vegas has been my favorite destination of travel since 2008, and when I found out about my favorite city and my favorite genre of music joining together for a weekend of craziness, I knew that I HAD to be there. That trip honestly changed everything for me… something that I will explain more in-depth in the future!