I grew up on classic rock and pop music. I was listening to The Beach Boys and Creedence Clearwater Revival before I was listening to anything else. My dad made sure of that. As I grew up and started developing my own tastes, I of course bonded with the music of my generation: 90s post-grunge/alt-rock, and the pop music. I actually didn't start listening to country music till I was almost out of college. I grew up with a myriad of tastes and favored genres and artists. But briefly, I went back to my classic rock roots and got pretty heavy into the "Old music is so much better, new music is so terrible" mindset.

And I was very very wrong.

Country helped me figure that out. That there is more music out there than what I was comfortable and familiar with. Country was a genre I had long disregarded. I didn't hate it, I just never gave it a shot. And I fell in love with it when I did. There's beauty to its storytelling. And it was around this time that I was also dropping the "Old good, new bad" mantra in regards to any and all music. It wasn't sustainable. Led Zeppelin IV doesn't have a shelf-life, but there's only so many times I can listen to it, before I do have to say, "OK, what else is out there?"

Again, country helped me with that. Here was this genre that I never gave a fair shake to. I was missing out on all this great music... so what else am I missing out on? What great music I am preventing myself from listening to, just because it wasn't made over 20 years ago?

We remember the great music of days past because that's what left the lasting impression. If you look at the top selling songs of 1969, it's The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, bands and musicians who left an impression. Oh, and the The Archies. The #4 selling song of 1969 is "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies. By no means a great song, certainly not of the caliber of "Honky Tonk Woman" or "Suspicious Minds." It's a goofy little novelty hit. So music is no better or worse today than it was 45 years ago. We just tend to (intentionally) forget what was bad from 45 years ago.

I love the art of the song, and the craft of the album. I'll put Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" next to Florence + The Machine's "Ceremonials" any day of the week. I'll put Dwight Yoakam next to Billy Currington next Roy Orbison next to Gaslight Anthem, so on and so forth. Though not literally, I have my music organized alphabetically, and all those artists next to each other, it just wouldn't make any sense.

You know what you like. And that's fine. There's plenty of music or TV shows or movies I don't partake in just because it's similar to things I know I don't like. But I want to experience the art that is out there, and I wasn't doing that by limiting myself just to what was old, comfortable and familiar. I had to step out of the comfort zone. I'm glad I did.