Citizen John

As a kid, I knew all of three things about country music. One, my mom's Oak Ridge Boys 8-track was the worst thing I had ever heard. Two, every country song was either about driving your truck down the interstate or about killing your best friend for having sex with your sister then running from the police by driving your truck down the interstate. And three, Hee Haw was the funniest damned show on TV.

When I started working at KCMU, one of the many genres the station played was country. Soon, I found myself with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Hank Williams on my playlists. Eventually, I realized that most of the music I loved had roots in country music, and that dozens and dozens of different styles were under the country umbrella. I was starting to understand it.

In the meantime, the station was starting to receive local CDs that were all about twang. I'd come to Seattle for the thriving rock scene, and I couldn't figure out how a country scene had developed within it.

Though I still wasn't completely converted, I opened my ears—and my narrow mind—to find some wonderful music coming from our city. At the forefront is a band called the Souvenirs, who've been playing around town for the last few years. The first time I saw them at the Tractor I tried to hate 'em. I got their new CD, King of Heartache, in September and tried to hate it. But I couldn't resist for long, and I wound up loving it.

If you want to hear some country, listen to John in the Morning on KCMU 90.3 FM, 6-10am weekdays. If you want to hear all country, tune into Swingin' Doors, 6-9pm Thursdays.

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