I work at an institution of higher learning that takes itself waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. Everything associated with the school is “world-class,” “ground-breaking,” “out of the box” and “into the stratosphere.”
By the time Friday rolls around, I’ve usually had enough. Don’t get me wrong–my family has a long, proud history with this school. Look closely and you’ll find the family name on scholarships, on lists of distinguished alumni and even on an atrium in one of the buildings.
But by Friday, my inner redneck–my state school self–comes out. I fire up the iPod and listen to the Southern Rock Nashville is famous for all the way home.
The Marshall Tucker Band, Atlanta Rhythym Section and ZZ Top are on my playlist. Not to mention the Outlaws, Allman Brothers and Charlie Daniels. And of course, the quintessintial Southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
A couple of years ago, I went to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert with a few girlfriends. We had VIP seating (which is pretty oxymoronic considering the band) and passes to the VIP lounge. Any way, it was a hot summer night and the show was outdoors. Our inner rednecks were definitely showing. Lynyrd Skynyrd is, of course, most famous for its ballad Free Bird. The band launched into this signature song for its encore and the crowd was delighted. All except for the couple in front of us who started to leave. My friend all but tackled them…why on earth would you come to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and leave during Free Bird? The only plausible explanation we could come up with is that they just weren’t raised right.
I can listen to NPR all week long, but when it comes to Friday afternoon, I need a change. One that totally goes against my button-down, preppie, blue-blood work place. Nothing fits the bill like the tunes I grew up with. (I know–ending a sentence with a preposition is bad, but it’s still the weekend, so give me a break.)
If you grew up in the South, you have a little bit of an inner redneck as well. I don’t care if you went to the finest private schools and country clubs, it’s there. And I promise, you’ll be happier if you turn up the radio and let it out every now and then.
Oh, and if you like to see a list of the 100 greatest Southern rock songs of all time, just click here.