“If you’re looking at me, you’re looking at country.” Loretta Lynn
I accidentally fell in love with country music, late last year.
How late is late? Too late to get the most out of a job I had – a job playing Country music!
Last summer, in 2018, I stepped out of my newly-jobless Madison life. I traveled a bit, and spent a determined two months sleeping determinedly on my sister’s couch – to the initial dismay of her chihuahua. Don’t worry, Simba grew to love me. And I grew to love Cardi B.
I wanted to be in NYC so that I could play music on the streets and subways, and make some cash! Here’s what I sounded like, per the recording of a lovely person who enjoyed my Joanna Newsom rendition:
Another lovely passer-by who also plays music – and tap dances! – told me about a job opportunity for buskers like us. She directed me to contact a restaurant that Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry just opened in Times Square. I love that wacky place.
My future boss responded and arranged an audition where we could meet and where I could show him my stuff. “Sing country songs,” he commanded.
So I played Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” Gene, or whatever his name was (he kinda threatened to fire me for asking questions about breaks) jumped into genre-policing. “Ok, but can you play country?” Oops. I thought I was.
He suggested Johnny Cash or Dolly Parton. So I gave him that. I got the job! And I beefed up my country repertoire – a bit.
About a month later, after a healthy handful of 6-hour shifts where I got breaks every half-hour (unheard of luxury!) and free burgers (have we met?) I was let go. The restaurant was doing very poorly. They thought they had a country music market all tied up. They didn’t. They closed.
A few months later, I’m back in Madison, watching “Coal Miner’s Daughter” for the first time. And second time. And third. And fourth. Now see what I’ve become?