Remember Your Roots (and Keep Moving On): a Playlist for Country Folks Living in the City

I work in the fast-paced world of software and live in the fast-paced city of Atlanta. It’s sometimes easy to forget that four years ago I was working at a hardware store and mowing grass on my family’s farm.

Like many young professionals in Atlanta and in cities across the country, I’m just a farmboy despite the trappings of urbanity. While for some people that might be an embarrassment, I take great comfort and satisfaction in it. If I hadn’t been sitting on a tractor four years ago, the excesses of the software industry would have gone to my head a lot sooner.

I also take comfort in the fact that I didn’t stay home. I would have stagnated if I had never come here and never challenged myself to learn how to make it outside of my comfort zone.

There’s a powerful back and forth between both longings: the longing for home and the longing for new sights. As economist Sarah Skwire has brilliantly noted, the music of rural people has long had this tension at its heart. When I want to re-center myself into my country boy identity, I turn to music like that.

This playlist should do the trick for you, too. It’s Southern rock like Lynyrd Skynrd and Jason Isbell mixed with Americana and some of the neo-traditional country that would crossed the radio airwaves in your youth – assuming you’re also a 20-something from the country trying to make it in the big city.

This playlist will remind you of all the things which you should be remembering as you take on the challenge of city life, from your grandfather’s reliability and grandmother’s love to the sights of a backroad drive and the values of small town life. It will make you proud of where you came from. It should also remind you that you came to the city for a reason, and that the best of the adventure lies in front of you.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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