An open letter to ABC9 meteorologist Scott Larson
Greetings Scott –
I believe you are my kindred tv brother. You forecast the weather. In third grade I wrote a “book” about the weather influenced greatly by an Encyclopedia Britannica. (That’s like a printed series of Wikipedia pages). You make witty puns on national trending stories. I attempt daily to be witty. Try. Every morning you are paired with a very talented, strong woman. I am as well. Although my “work wife” drinks WAY more coffee than your “work wife”. You see, we are like brothers.
So, let me talk to ya brother to brother.
In the next ten years, please give country music a shot.
Back in the late 1980’s, when I was rockin’ a mullet and wearing acid washed jeans, I scoffed at country music like you do today. My parents consumed country music. That alone was reason enough to opt for the bona fide stylings of Poison, Motley Crue, Beastie Boys and Weird Al Yankovic. After all, those were the jams inside the Holy Cross Grade School cafeteria. I bet the Catholic priests were praying to save my soul. Have you heard the lyrics of “Look What the Cat Dragged In”? Pretty much debauchery personified AND it ended with a preposition. Gasp! Sister Mary Francesca so did not approve.
Then, it 1990 – it happened. Garth. He rocked the format. He took all the music foundation my favorites employed and sang this new version of country music. Country became cool. It became consumable at Creighton Prep High School amidst the early 90’s Seattle rock idols Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Candlebox. My mother and I BOTH liked “Friends in Low Places” “The Thunder Rolls” and “The Dance”. I never “lived” the country lifestyle. However, I did skip school to camp out for Garth tickets in 1992. It was a transformative time in the format.
It’s a pretty vibrant time right now as well.
The recent CMA Awards broadcast on your station recently gave viewers a bit of a glimpse into the diversity of sound in the country music landscape right now. Not every “type” and “texture” of country music will be in your wheelhouse. I get it. Much like country music back in the day really didn’t catch my attention when I was choosing different fare from the musical menu of awesomeness. And you and me are like brothers, remember?
So, I’m here for ya bro.
I spoke to your very talented colleague J Rae for this article. I did some sleuthing and found out you enjoy Lady Gaga, the poppy version of T Swizzle and contemporary rap stylings.
I believe we have some nice transitional artists for you to check out:
Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit. Even the pop heavy Taylor Swift has some easy transitions into the format. Let me introduce you to the musical tastes of Kelsea Ballerini. She’s 22, feisty, fun-spirited and has some of that natural energy employed by Swift. Check out “Love Me like you Mean it”, “Peter Pan”, “XO” and the uber-spunky “Dibs”. (By the way, I’m a Taylor apologist. She’s great. You can see parts of our interview with her on You Tube. Additionally my gut tells me she’ll be back in country by 2025. C’mon. Pop artists’ shelf life rarely extends beyond a decade. So, that may be your chance)
Lady Gaga inspired country? Sam Hunt has some of the melodic “Poker Face” type beats that ring in your cerebellum. It’s catchy. He doesn’t have as many back-up dancers as Lady Gaga but he’s all in for the high energy mojo. Check out “Leave the Night On” (another song that ends in a preposition”, “My Ex to See” (that could be a Gaga gem), and “Take Your Time”. Also, Cam’s “Burning House” reminds of that one song Steph G. sings about that Nebraska boy. Go Huskers. (Yup, I worked in my NU fandom. Sorry)
Rap in country. Dude, this is easy. Check out Jason Aldean and Ludacris, Colt Ford, LACS, Big Smo, Cowboy Troy, Nelly and Tim McGraw, Florida-Georgia Line and Nelly and Darius Rucker’s version of “No Diggity”.
Other tracks that may move your musical barometer:
“Watch the Wind Blow By” – Tim McGraw
“Tornado” – Little Big Town
“Blown Away” – Carrie Underwood
“Every Storm Runs Out of Rain” – Gary Allan
“Colder Weather” – Zac Brown Band
I LOVE country music. I’m a big lyric guy. This format has songs that resonate with so many. I can easily name 25 songs that hit home and describe an exact emotion I’ve experienced sometime in my life. We are so fortunate to live in a city with SO MANY country concerts at the TEC, Orpheum and Hard Rock. This past year I’ve seen Darius Rucker, Cole Swindell, Kelsea Ballerini, Tyler Farr, Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton (Hey, I just discovered him last week), LoCash, Jacob Martin Band, David Nail, Gary Allan, Chris Young, Drew Baldridge, Blackberry Smoke, Big Smo, LACS, Michael Ray, Ryan Hurd, Jon Pardi, Dan + Shay and so many others. You really learn to appreciate a recording artist after watching them pour their heart into a performance – much like watching you talk about embedded drizzle.
So, in summary…if you love weather, you will love country music.
Ok, at least a 20 percent chance.
Tony Michaels – Country Music apologist since 1990
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