top of page

You Ain't as Deep as You Think You Are

Inside my small circle of friends growing up in the greater Washington, D.C. area or inside the Beltway, I was not very familiar with Country Music. My knowledge of the genre was limited to a few old folk ballads sung by my Grandparents, some simple old-time hymns, and selections heard on episodes of Hee Haw.

Before my teen years, I was most impressed by the glorious operatic voices I listened to each Saturday courtesy of WGMS (Washington's Good Music Station).

So enamored had I become of one tenor of considerable mainstream fame that I asked for his album and the chance to see him in a movie on my 12th birthday. Mario Lanza in The Student Prince seemed to me at that time to be the ultimate romantic figure.

Less than two years later, I was in love with a young man from Tupelo who had electrified the world of popular music with his smooth as honey voice, his Greek-god profile, and his crooked "aw shucks ma'am" smile.

When I began my neighborhood babysitting career, I had the opportunity to meet and sit for Jimmy Dean and Marvin Carroll, a member of his band. At the time, they had a regular show on a local Washington television station, and they lived in my suburban neighborhood. I occasionally watched with my Grandparents but was not overly impressed except for the appearances of Patsy Cline.

Through my high school and college days, I listened to classic rock 'n roll and the socially-politically oriented folk songs that influenced most sixties children.

It wasn't until the 1970s that I heard a songwriter/storyteller who grabbed my attention with an unmistakable blues undertone that made me listen and feel something in Country Music that I had missed. Willie Nelson made me a convert.

So, I humbly apologize for my earlier dismissal of Country as being somehow "déclassé." I hate to admit that I was one of those making snide remarks about the unsophisticated music and the nasal tones. It is a common disease of the young to think they are brighter than others.

Well, "You Ain't as Deep as You Think You Are."

With many years under my belt and many forms of music having passed through my ears, I can better evaluate what I hear. No, I do not hold a degree in musicology, nor do I write songs, sing songs, or play an instrument. I can naturally feel the music and listen to the message. The words constitute the message held together by the music, the soul.

As was said first by Harlan Howard and repeated by many since Country Music is THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH.

In the fourth quarter of my life, I met my musically-knowledgeable husband, who has given me a crash course in Country Music. He insisted that anyone living in Tennessee for more than half a century had to visit the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, so we did.

We have listened to music across the state from the Blues of Memphis to the Blue Grass of the mountains in our travels. He is able, and more than willing, to give me the back story of each song, writer, and performer. I am expecting a pop quiz or semester exam to come without warning at any time.

The recent Ken Burns documentary beautifully provided a comprehensive look at the history and lasting impact of the many sub-genres that comprise Country Music. It is the voice of America written by poets from every walk of life.

To echo Dolly Parton, there is a county song for every emotion. If you are feeling romantic, there's a song for you. If you are feeling sad, there is a crying song. Likewise, there are more than enough songs about cheating, getting even, or being lonesome. Some are just for fun.

Because I am drawn to the use of words, what I appreciate most are the cleverly crafted "hooks."

Tear Jerkers- Self- AbsorptionHe stopped loving her today Sunday mornin' comin' down Hello Walls Opportunity to cryIf tomorrow never comes Here in the real world I'm no stranger to the rain Diggin' up bones Romance – Heartbreak -RegretAlways on my mind If I know me Blue ain't your color Write this down Soft places to fall Give it Away If we'd known we was gonna live this long Comic – Revenge – ExcusesA boy named Sue Buy me a boat Friends in low places You never even called me by my name All my Exes live in TexasThe devil made me do it the first time, the second time I done it on my own. It's five o'clock somewhere God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy. Thank God and Greyhound, you're gone

There is another recurring theme that causes me to laugh and ask a few questions.

It seems that more than a few of the male country stars feel a need to cast blame on their female companions for their sundry failings and miseries. Listen to them moan, "See what that woman has done to me," or complain, "They don't understand us at all."

Allow me to summarize the wish list often warbled by the Boys of Country.

They seek absolution for bad choices by casting guilt on a wife, lover, or companion.

They seek unchallenged understanding from all the women in their circle of friends and fans.

Because they have achieved a level of professional success, have adoring fans, and consider themselves artists, everyone should understand and excuse their philandering, substance abuse, violent outbursts, or periods of self-indulgent moroseness.

Breaking News, Boys.

While we continue to love you despite your flaws, your adolescent behavior, and your egotistical self-absorption, we are on to you.

We fully understand you because "You Ain't as Deep as You Think You Are."

34 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Although unlikely, if there are any readers not yet eligible for membership in AARP who find the idea of intimacy between two consenting septuagenarians or octogenarians offensive, they might want to


I awakened laughing at the fragments of a dream. My dreams usually have a shelf life of ten minutes or less. I could remember only a conversation in which I asked someone why their state did not choos


Foreign warnings that were faintly heard grew louder as late autumn turned cold. Winter slapped us in the face with a wake-up call. We struggled with what we were told, Beware the invisible enemy. Tak


bottom of page