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The Characteristics of Great Music Discovering Why I Listen to So Many Genres
June plays host to a lot of fun activities and essential holidays, like D-Day and Father’s Day, but one that is unique and piqued my interest when I recently learned about it is World Music Day on June 21. When I think about this holiday, I can’t help thinking of the impact music has had on my life. Right now, I love Jason Isbell’s and Ryan Bingham’s music, but my musical tastes continue to vary as I get older. Even though I don’t listen to many of the artists I used to love, I still remember what made their songs resonate with me so much when I was younger, which I want to share with you. Growing up, listening to greats like Hank Williams Sr., George Jones, and Patsy Cline with my parents gave me an excellent foundation for the varying country genre. My older brother was the first person on our block with a CD player, making him seem like the coolest kid ever. Seeing my fascination with it, he spent time introducing me to the heavy metal giants of the time like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and Anthrax. Staying up late watching MTV was a great bonding experience for the both of us. By exposing myself to hard rock and metal, I discovered that I love music with a consistent rhythm and an emphasis on guitar. Throughout middle school, high school, and college, I branched out to listen to hip-hop groups like N.W.A., Geto Boys, and even an obscure rap group called Blac Monks. As I was listening to these artists and paying more attention to lyrics, I learned the power that stories have in music. I lived out West and in Texas most of my life, and thinking about life’s different perspectives wasn’t exactly a common occurrence, but music showed me how every song tells a story. These artists and rappers exposed me to completely different views on life through their own stories and actually made me want to revisit the country artists from my youth to glean their life lessons. During and after college, I spent time listening to “Red Dirt” and Texas country music like Reckless Kelly, Charlie Robison, and Robert Earl Keen. In fact, just a few months ago, my dad and I, along with a few friends, saw Reckless Kelly at The Kessler in Dallas! During the concert, it struck me that I love these types of bands because their music is a whole experience. Additionally, it makes me remember why I love all the music I do. Creating memories with your loved ones while in a packed venue listening to
an artist you all love is such a cool experience. Just a few of my own experiences include listening to classic country with my parents, rocking out to Metallica with my big brother, and busting out homework late at night with N.W.A. blasting in the background. I’ll never forget those memories, and they also clue me in to the kinds of music I want to introduce to my kids. Right now, they think Jason Isbell is too slow, but they love Corb Lund, who fills his songs with fun, crazy cowboy stories and fun musical support. As they get older, I’m looking forward to exposing them to more artists like Anthrax and genres like old- school hip-hop. In our odd life circumstances right now, if you need new music with a unique sound, I recommend Charley Crockett. His real-life story of homelessness and living as a nomad shines through his mix of country, blues, and soul music. If you have any artists or bands you love listening to, let me know who they are the next time we talk! I’m always looking for something fun to listen to while I work.
-Patrick R. Kelly
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