It’s not my mama’s country music

Published 3:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2017

Butting heads with a billy goat all afternoon had left me so exhausted that I plopped down Sunday night to do something I seldom do – watch television.  Andy Griffith and The Golden Girls are about all of television I can take.

The choice of channels was limited – “Naked and Afraid.” That was understandable, I would be afraid, too. There was something about a lost world, lots of murder mysteries and too much government gooble-gobble. None of that caught my interest. However, the ACM Awards had possibilities. But, when I realized that ACM was an acronym for Academy of County Music Awards, I knew I was in for a good night of TV – a night of good ol’ country music.

I spent every Saturday night of my childhood sitting at the knees of my mama listening to the Grand Ole Opry. I knew all the country music singers – the Carter Family, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Eddie Arnold, every single one of them. Mama and I would sing along because we knew every word.

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Daddy would go to bed. He said he couldn’t stand all that whining and bellowing.  “Do they all sing through their noses?”

We didn’t pay any attention to Daddy. To Mama and me it was the best singing in the world.

The ACM Awards was on so I sat back to relax and enjoy some good ol’ country music.

But that was not my mama’s country.

First, the country music awards were coming live from Las Vegas. What happened to Nashville, Tennessee? Or even Fort Payne, Alabama. Anywhere in the South? But Las Vegas and country music? They go together like a tuxedo and bib overalls.

The ACM Awards had all the glitz and glitter of the Miss America Pageant. I expected Bert Parks to step out in song any minute. Where were the bales of hay and the ol’ hound dog?

And, square dancing doesn’t include dips and pirouettes.

Maybe those were groupies that crowed around the stage in attire that didn’t come from the western wear store. They were waving their jeweled arms and lip-syncing to the camera like they were at a rock concert, not a country music show.

The female singers did not dress like Loretta Lynn. The way they were dressed was next to scandalous, I was thinking.

I sat there knowing exactly what Mama would say if she were watching.

“I don’t reckon they had that dress in a larger size when she bought it.”

“Did she forget to put on a skirt with that blouse?”

As the camera panned the crowd with all the platinum blond heads shining, I knew exactly what Mama would say. “Well, there’s not another bottle of bleach left in the state of Nevada.”

Mama would have commented on the women’s plunging necklines and the men wearing “earbobs,” pants that looked like nylon hose and shoes as long as showboat and as shiny as a new penny.  She would not have understood one word of the non-syllable jargon that was sung.

“I think they are making that song up as they go along,” she would have said.

And, when Reba McEntire came on stage wearing a long dress and singing something that had a hit of ol’ time country music Mama would have said, “Bless her heart. I reckon she’s about as country as it gets.”

I tuned off the TV. There wasn’t much to the ACM Awards, but I sure enjoyed the memories of Mama.

Jaine Treadwell is features editor of The Messenger. Email her at