And no, I don't mean the United States. I'm from Bakersfield, CA, the West Coast home of country music (the "Bakersfield Sound"). Here's a portion of an article from Wikipedia: In the early 1960s, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, among others, brought the Bakersfield sound to mainstream audiences, and it soon became one of the most popular kinds of country music, also influencing later country stars such as Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, The Mavericks, and The Derailers. (Stacye's note: The Smokin' Armadillos are another country group from Bakersfield.)
So country music is in my blood and it's my favorite kind of music, aside from contemporary Christian. Imagine my surprise when I heard on a country station here, "Coming up next, it's Kid Rock followed by Jessica Simpson." Since when do these two sing country music? What's happening to the world?
Now in the interest of total honesty, I kind of like Kid Rock's current country song, "All Summer Long." If I've heard Jessica Simpson's song, I don't recall so I can't say whether I like it. But I just don't get it. Country music isn't perfect, but it's a lot more uplifting and joyful than most other secular music, in my opinion. I hope it doesn't start a downhill slide into music I wouldn't let my kids listen to. (Wow, do I sound like my mother or what?)