Flyover States

As a kid that cut her teeth on "old" country and has known the lyrics to every George Strait song her entire life - I'm a little skeptical sometimes of emerging artists. When Mr. Jason Aldean came with Amarillo Sky, I wasn't sure what to think of his rock'n'roll look and his diamond stud earrings. I was living in Amarillo at the time...so guess what song was always friggin' on the radio. Yeah. And sometimes I refuse to like someone just because they're ridiculously overrated. But, over the past year (maybe college has widened my perspective a little) Jason has really grown on me. I happened to hear Flyover States on the radio the other day at work and it honestly gave me chills.

The song is alright, it's got a nice twangy melody that seems to appeal to the mainstream country fans and is an okay compromise for the 80's generation. But the lyrics really got me. It wasn't the typical "I'm country and haters gotta hate" or "I'm a backwoods hick that can't spell but I'll kick your a**" or, God forbid, "redneck woman". Not that I don't have any respect for those people, but that isn't exactly the positive image I'd like for us "country folk" to be presenting to the general public. These simple, descriptive verses about the legitimate, breathtaking beauty of the land I've always called home nearly brought a tear to my eye.

He talks about meeting "the man that plowed that earth,planted that seed..." and the Santa Fey engineer that's seen it all. He gets that we're just simple people living a simple life, working hard to make a living the best way we know how.

"On the plains of Oklahoma
With a windshield sunset in your eyes
Like a watercolored painted sky
You'll think heavens doors have opened..."

"Take a ride across the badlands
Feel that freedom on your face
Breathe in all that open space
Meet a girl from Amarillo
You'll understand why God made
You might even wanna plant your stakes
In those fly over states..."

I was slightly disappointed that he didn't say anything about Nebraska. But, in my opinion, you'd have to have an entire song about how awesome Nebraska is. (Ha ha!) I spent most of my childhood nestled in the Sandhills, right in the heart of the country. I wasted my days under an open sky on the back of a scraggly-maned buckskin with my partner in crime on his paint pony next to me. We'd perch ourselves at the top of a hill and just drink in the landscape - breathing in freedom. We surveyed the rolling hills and grassy meadows and sandy, cattle trodden trails with a sense of pride; we were the next generation and it was our job to take care of it. It was wild and untouched, and we hoped to keep it that way.

There's nothing wrong with progress - cement and steel go a long ways towards making agriculture a viable pursuit. But, you can't grow corn on a busy street, and you can't graze cattle on the top of a high-rise apartment. Now, there's no way the entire world can go back to farming, and I'm not saying that everyone should. However, I know that what we're doing out there on our backroads and in our tiny towns with funny names is undeniably important to the survival of the world. We're a different breed of people - whether we're rednecks or highly educated lawyers - we do what we do because we love it. It's in our blood. And maybe, if you give it a chance, you'd want to plant your stakes in one of those fly over states.

~Peace, Love, Cows~

(Images: http://www.topworlddestinations.com/2011/12/badlands-south-dakota.html

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