Last week, my friend Lee and I took a 600-mile road trip (up and back) to the house my late father-in-law had built to enjoy his retirement. As I always (try to) do, I loaded my phone and an iPad up with more than enough music for the trip and asked Lee if he had any preferences. He replied "Anything but country" his standard answer over the 30+ years I have known him so I should have expected it.
The above road trip was actually planned after I had raced 18 hours straight-through to Mom’s house in Pineville, Missouri, for the funeral of her Daddy, my PawPaw. The final arrangements had been made and Mom said she'd understand if I couldn't make it. So, of course, I packed a bag and was on the road at 4AM the next day. The soundtrack for the trip was a hastily made playlist I called Navasota Roadhouse, thirty-six hours of nearly ninety years of my country favorites, from The Carter Family's landmark Bristol recordings in 1927 up through "Head Over Boots", the unlikely Number One song that took 45 weeks to peak on the Country Airplay chart dated August 27, 2016.
Now I grew up watching Hee Haw, The Porter Wagoner Show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and The Johnny Cash Show sitting on the floor in front of NanNan and PawPaw's relatively small color TV - it might have been the same size as the computer monitor staring back at me. Those shows and the music I saw performed on them laid the foundation for my love and appreciation of country music which reached critical mass as I pumped countless quarters into the Cow Talk jukebox during the half a dozen Summers I spent in Navasota (with my Texas grand folks) during those same formative years in the Seventies and early Eighties. Country music became cool, the latest fashion improbably following on the heels of disco, with Urban Cowboy and everybody started wearing hats and boots as if a uniform was required to listen to the music. Predictably, I rebelled, dropped the entire genre from my collection and from 1982 until about 1986 when a friend turned me on to Dwight Yoakam's debut albumif you would have asked me what kind of music I like to listen to, I would have said the same damn thing my wife just did when I asked her that question right now: "Anything but Country!"
Having been back in the fold for thirty years now, I understand my country music isn't like anyone else's country music, it's a unique reflection of all my musical tastes and life experiences. But where I'm from, we were taught to share so here's 100 of my favorite country songs. They might not be country music to you but they most certainly are to me. Maybe you like 'em or maybe you don't - either way, we can still be friends.

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