Oh what to choose: If I was asked by Felicity Urquhart about 5 songs on the Download!
One of my favourite segments of Saturday Night Country is when Felicity asks musos what five country songs have had an impact them over the course of their life and why. It must be so hard to pick 5 songs. Well, I thought that I’d have a go. It is very hard getting it down to 5! They are not necessarily my favourites, they just left an impact at various times throughout my life.
My parents played lots of country music when I was a kid. It was not until I was about 7 or 8 though, that I had songs from the genre that struck me. This only covers two sections of my life: to my teens and to the age of about 29 or 30. I have had many music influences in my life. Country and Folk the most obvious. I am 54, so there have obviously been more impact songs in the last 25 years!
The first country song that had an impact on me. My sister and I bought Dad one of those KTEL compilations. I was about 8 and my sister was about 10. It had some classics on it but the song that I liked best was Roy Clarke’s “Right or Left at Oak Street”. I still love it. It is a bit folky, which is probably why I was first attracted to it. Previous to that, Dean Martin’s Shutters and Boards was big with me – as a 4 year old, I used to murder that song daily but I never realised that it was country until years later. Those words have stuck with me: Right or left at Oak Street, it’s a choice I make every day, I don’t know what takes more courage, the staying or the running away.
The Banks of the Ohio – Olivia Newton John. Not many Aussie gals of my generation didn’t want to be Olivia. It was always great to think that she was one of us and that she was doing so well overseas. I guess that I was about 8 or 9 when this came out and it was one of those songs that I just hummed and sang around the house all the time. It would be considered a murder ballad these days. The Weeping Willows and Lachlan Bryan take note!
My Best Friend – Don Williams – I guess that this song came out at just the right time. We had not long moved to Tamworth from Taree and I met my best friend, Tracey, who is still my best friend, 43 and a bit years later. It all seemed to fit. It is just a beautiful song. My two best friends are my anchors in life’s ocean.
Annie’s Song – John Denver – My Mum’s favourite country music singer, John Denver had to figure in this one. Like many 70’s teenagers, I was introduced to John’s music through the movies Sunshine and My Sweet Lady. I am a big John fan too, but I bought this album for Mum for Mothers Day when I was about 13 or 14. You filled up my senses like a night in a forest. How can you not love that line.
Sunday Morning Coming Down – Kris Kristofferson – This song is my favourite country music song of all time. It was also the song that made me put most of my other music tastes aside. I guess that I was about 15. I always loved Kris singing Kris songs best. He had lived every one of those songs and his voice seemed to fit the stories. As an adult, I can relate to this song more (especially some of my days in my early twenties) and I can appreciate the poetry more. I don’t think that there is a song in any genre that heightens the senses like this one does. The lines are just the best.
I am only up to 15 and I have covered my 5 impact songs already! Perhaps I should cheat and keep going through adulthood.
The Eagles were a big impact on me during my teens. Of course, I watched Countdown and I was that little teenage Rock Chick but I loved my songwriters like Billy Joel, The Beatles, Elton John and of course, my fave, James Taylor. Carole King was a fave too. However, when it came to country, The Eagles were probably my closest to it. I loved everything that they did. Given my place of residence – Tamworth, and my easy going approach to life, Peaceful, Easy Feeling was probably a given. I used to cart my cassette player into the bathroom and sing to it in the shower.
When I was eighteen and a half, I moved to the big smoke of Sydney for work reasons. Country Music was put on the back burner for a while, though Ma and Pa played it still when I went home for visits.
I was continuing with my folk style of music and went and saw Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, America and the like. I also saw John Denver and Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton during this time. I guess you can take the girl out of the country…..
I went to see Kevin Johnson and I was hooked. I love all of his songs but the song that hit me was called “Oleanders” it is actually about a romance during the Civil War in America, but it made an amazing impact on me, and I am fascinated by history, especially American History.
In my late twenties I got back into Country Music very heavily, this was mainly due to the big wave of great music coming through from America. I think that the late 80’s early 90’s was one of the best eras of country music in America. So many wonderful artists. Narrowing it down to 3 songs from my 20’s to my 50’s, it is hard. Crystal Gayle’s version of Take Me Home You Silly Boy (Tom Waits) has a special place in my life. It is just one of the most beautiful songs ever written. It makes me cry every time that I hear it.
Randy Travis came out with a version of “A Horse called Music” It is such an amazing song and Randy really does it for me on many levels. I think that Adam Harvey is the Aussie equal to Randy. They both have those beautiful melt your heart voices.
It is no secret to anyone who reads my blog or who knows me musically, that Mary-Chapin Carpenter is my favourite female country artist. I was tossed between her song, He Thinks He’ll Keep Her and Iris DeMent’s My Life. They both have amazing messages and incredible strength and beauty to them.
Again, though some of these are my favourite songs, the idea of the download is more to highlight songs that made an impact. I will be doing my favourite 100 songs soon, which will be a lot easier
This is only until I am 30. I am 54 now, so you can imagine the impacts since then!