People make all kinds of discoveries about themselves in college, and this certainly isn't my first since coming to Columbia. Since the student body here is so diverse, I've been exposed to some things I never thought I'd like, and have probably been on the other side of things too (put pasta on a sandwich).
However, I have always said that I hate country music. I LOVE folk, some bluegrass---things that are VERY close to country---but nothing that I would consider country. Banjo and stuff is great, but once there is any trace of twang or talk of blue jeans, beer, or trucks, you can count me out.
Last year I did a lot of homework in my friends’ room, and they listened to a lot of mainstream country. I couldn’t begin to tell you the names of any of the male singers, but Taylor Swift was involved in a big way. Her lyrics are pretty hard for me to take seriously. For example, “The playful conversation starts, counter all your quick remarks / Like passing notes in secrecy.”
I don’t even really know what that means, but it seems so forced that I crack up every time I hear it. However, her songs themselves are undeniably, frustratingly catchy. It pains me a little bit to say that, but whatever, she seems like an okay human.
That was just the taster, though. The big awakening was on Monday. My friend came over with a record (which she got from WKCR, probably in exchange for her email address) perhaps unheard by other human ears, called “Ed & Jolene’s Third Country Album.” There is no arguing over the genre of this record. Besides clearly announcing itself as country, the album featured such classics as “Country Boy With A Country Song,” “Sing Me A Song About Log Cabins,” and everyone’s favorite, “Too Good For Ole Satan.”
I can’t lie---the record was amazing. I want to listen to it again right now. Unfortunately, there is almost nothing online about this duo. Assuming they can count, they have at least three records, but there might only be three living people who know they exist (me, my friend, and Jolene. I was able to find that Ed unfortunately passed a few years ago).
The record had an address on the back for the record company, “Coal County Country,” which is a tongue-twister if I’ve ever seen one. I wrote them a letter asking for more information about Ed & Jolene, which my friend allegedly mailed. I fully expect for the letter to come back to me..
This might be the only Ed & Jolene record left in existence, but I will never forget that it’s the reason I can no longer say “I hate country.” People at Columbia have broadened my taste in music before, but this one I did not see coming.