Friday night, I went to a country concert with Necole and her mom. I am not sure what I was expecting, but it was the best country music concert that I have seen in a long time. Will Hoge opened for Gary Allan at the Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of country music. As one of the guys said, this was the room that made the music industry in Nashville.
The Ryman is one of my favorite places, but this post is not about that. It’s about two performers, neither of which I had ever heard of, who restored my faith in country music. There was an entire concert with no songs about tractors, tailgates, back roads or any other southern stereotype that most people in this nation can’t relate to. These songs had depth and sophistication. They were filled with hope and despair. In short, they were what country music used to be and what is should continue to be.
Country music is filled with guys who sing about growing up on a farm when they probably grew up in some suburb. The performers I saw were true to themselves. Of course, the ”fake redneck” brigade plays to sold out arenas, and these guys were in a small venue. I reckon that says something.
I liked most of the songs, but the last one by Gary Allan stood out to me. Songs About Rain is about a man driving around with heartache. The love of his life has married someone else, and his radio is playing nothing but songs about rain.
The song hit me because that is what a country song is supposed to be about.
It also hit me that there really are a bunch of songs about rain, and my mind started working. Why is that? It could be that rain depresses people, so it provides the appropriate feel for a sad song. It could also be that rain is an easy word to rhyme. Pain. Train. Plane. The word works on different levels.
Then, I started thinking about the songs on my iPod that are about rain. It is filled with them. There are songs about rain in different genres and from a wide variety of artists. Like other entries in the “My iPod Has Issues” series, I have put my iPod on shuffle to see what kind of rain songs come out.
“November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses – This one may have the greatest video ever.
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” by Willie Nelson – Now, this is a country song.
“Looking for a Rainbow” by Chris Rea – Not many people have heard of him, but he is one of my favorites.
“Crying in the Rain” by Whitesnake – It’s a little different from Willie’s song.
“Rainy Night in Georgia” by Tony Joe White – Georgia says they need water. Maybe this song will help.
“Rain” by the Beatles – This is not my favorite song about rain.
“Rainy Day People” by Gordon Lightfoot – He is one of Canada’s greatest exports.
“She’s a Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones – This one is better that the British Invasion one above.
“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” by B.J. Thomas – They say it was my favorite song as a little kid.
“Purple Rain” by Prince – He ended his concert with this when I saw him.
“I Wish It Would Rain Down” by Phil Collins – I used to listen to this during every state of depression.
“Kentucky Rain” by Elvis Presley – No list is complete without an Elvis song.
“Early Morning Rain” by Elvis Presley – To prove the previous point, here is another one.
“Rainy Day Women #12 & #35″ by Bob Dylan – I’m not sure what it has to do with rain.
“Rainbow Stew” by Merle Haggard – Now, here is a happy rain song.
“Just Walkin’ in the Rain” by the Prisonaires – This song has a sad true story behind it.
“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor – I have always found this song haunting.