I always thought country music was an abomination and had no idea how anybody could listen to it.

Then a very European, big-city, dinner-at-11pm, a total intellectual snob of a friend of mine went to Kentucky for grad school and came back with a 2,000-CD collection of country music (it was back in 2003-4.)

“God, what did they do to you over there?” I asked. “You used to ridicule this stuff.”

“You need to live there to get it,” he said.

I thought he was a lunatic but turns out he was right. You need to spend several years among the landscape, the people, adjust your internal rhythms to those of the place, and then you begin to get it. Music is about the inner rhythms shared by a group of people.

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