Alright, I’m just going to throw this out there- I don’t like country music. I don’t. And it’s not that I’m drinking my haterade, or that I think I’m some omniscient musical being. However, I grew up in Eminence, Indiana. I graduated in a class of 28 people. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knew my beeswax, Ramona.
“But Cari, what does this have to do with Colts football?”
Nothing. And I think that’s okay- because sometimes it’s best if we just stick to what we know. I didn’t grow up watching football. My school didn’t have a football team. Two townships. One building. K-12. Football just wasn’t going to happen. However, I know we’re in the motherlovin’ Midwest, and I know there are country music fans out there, and I want you to read this and hear me out; because for goodness’ sake, I’m sure some of you can feel my pain.
I have extremely eclectic musical tastes, but country music just really grinds my gears. I don’t know if it’s because of the overkill of it all (with the computers and the crossovers), if it’s because I listened to it so much throughout my childhood, or that I don’t think it’s saying anything at all- but I am a self-proclaimed disliker of country music in general; with the exception of the OGs like Willie, Waylon, Johnny, Merle, Hank, Glenn, Patsy, Loretta…. Those guys. I like those guys. I like the raw depth of their styles. I like the simplicity. The guys and gals with their guitars and bands and microphones and souls.
There’s one current country song I can think of that reminds me of home, and that’s “Boondocks” by Little Big Town. I kinda like that one, and couldn’t have escaped it if I wanted to- our house is filled with music; and the eldest spawn happens to like country.
This brings me to my next point: Cord Watkins. This guy is so talented, humble, unassuming, polite, and awesome, and I think we share many of the same sentiments.
My family and Cord’s family have known each other for generations, but I haven’t seen Cord in person since he was probably six or seven years old. I came across him on Facebook, and remembered him because, well, Eminence. And because his grandpa was my first bus driver, his dad was my second bus driver, and because that’s the way things are. My grandpa and dad were farmers and contractors and we all lived pretty close as far as country living goes. We all just know each other, even when we haven’t seen each other in years.
Cord recently won the Putnam County Star competition with an original song, “What Happened to the Country?” which I’ll add for your viewing and listening pleasure. Keep in mind, though, that I seriously keep my distance from country music. I also asked Cord a few questions, because, well, I haven’t seen him or talked to him since he was learning to read and stuff. So there’s that.
As it turns out, Cord’s been a busy bee since he was learning to navigate the halls of Eminence (literally, like two halls when I was in high school). Cord started getting interested in music in elementary school, when he started drumming. He picked up a guitar around the age of 14. He ventured on to Vincennes and majored in Conservation Law Enforcement, but also became more serious about his music there as his voice matured. He gets his talent honest- his mother and her family are very musically inclined. He says he’s heard stories that his dad was musical as well, but never pursued it.
These days, Cord is a singer-songwriter, but he’s also a construction worker and farmer. That doesn’t leave much time for getting his name or his music out there. He works twelve hour days as a construction worker, and then comes home and works on the farm. He finds time in between to fine-tune his skills, and as I said before, he managed to bring home a win in the Putnam County Star competition. He doesn’t perform in public often; mostly because his name isn’t really out there yet. He’s trying to break out, but farming and working take a lot of his time. I’d like to help him out with that, and I’d like you readers to help, too. Cord says his biggest musical influence is Waylon Jennings. He said, “He taught me that being true to yourself and your music is the most important thing you can do. It’s not about the money or the fame, but rather the message and emotions.”
In his down time, Cord likes to hunt and fish, and of course, play his guitar and write music. He doesn’t have much down time, but when he does, he likes to spend it practicing and creating new material. When I asked Cord if he saw himself as a country artist/musician long-term, his reply was this: “I would love to be a big name in country music! I want to bring country music back to a level where it’s not the dumbed down stuff you hear nowadays. Country music fans are a lot smarter than these record labels think they are, and the notion that they can’t understand deep songs is just bullcrap. I’m not saying an upbeat song about having a good time is a bad thing, but the message in today’s songs is the wrong one to give.”
Well. I hear that, and I happen to agree. Listen, I think the guy deserves a shot. I think some of you may REALLY like what he has to say. I know I did- even though I really, really haven’t dabbled in country music in a long, long time. I’m so excited about what Cord is doing and what he has to offer. He’s talented. He works hard. He needs help getting his name out there. So, True Blue Fans- listen to his original song, “What Happened to the Country?” and please share it, and encourage others to do the same. You can also find him on Facebook here. Look him up. He’s about as country as it gets- and it doesn’t bother me a bit. As a matter of fact, I love his sound. His original song feels a hell of a lot more like home to me than anything I’ve heard in long, long time.