It’s that time of year again. Time to gather round the Thanksgiving table with your family, pig out, and listen to your slightly-racist grandpa talk about how the world has gone to shit.
Can somebody pour the Wild Turkey? Actually just hand me the bottle.
I can drink enough to get past the political talk and the questions about when I’m going to get married and start having kids. But what do you do when that cousin that you only see once a year starts talking about how much she likes Brett Young, or your loser brother who still lives at home with your parents won’t stop going on about how he saw the “best concert of his life” that time he blacked out on Fireball at an FGL show?
Talking with your family about country music isn’t always easy. If you’re visiting loved ones for the holidays this time of year, here’s a quick guide for talking about country music with your family at Thanksgiving.
1. Remain calm. As tempting as it may be to start chucking dinner rolls at peoples’ heads while screaming about Tyler Childers being a lyrical genius, it’s important to stay calm. Nobody’s going to want to listen to “Feathered Indians” if they have to pick cranberry sauce out of their hair. So as hard as it may be, try to keep your composure as you calmly explain that Tyler Childers actually managed to write a love song about jerking off.
2. Use facts. While country music can be an emotional subject, it’s best to come armed with facts and use those to guide the conversation. Facts like Eric Church breaking the Nissan Stadium attendance record during his Double Down Tour. Or how Luke Combs became the first country artist to have 16 songs on the charts at one time. Remember, the facts are on your side, so know them and use them to your advantage.
3. Don’t insult your audience. If you’re a fan of Aaron Lewis you might not understand why this is important, but you shouldn’t insult your audience if you’re trying to get them on your side. Calling your family “pieces of shit” just because their top played song on Spotify is Thomas Rhett’s “Look What God Gave Her” isn’t going to change anybody’s mind. And for the love of God, if somebody calls you a racist for not liking Old Town Road, don’t try to explain that you’re not a racist by talking about your teacher’s boobs (yeah, Aaron Lewis said that too).
4. Find common ground. If things are going off the rails (and let’s be honest, if your Thanksgiving is like mine they probably are), try to find common ground with your family. Everybody likes George Strait and Dolly Parton. Or Brooks & Dunn. So start there, and then try to ease them into some newer country. Because you know who just released a song with Brooks & Dunn? That’s right, Luke Combs. See how easy it is?
5. Getting drunk and putting on Shania is never a bad idea. Did you see how happy it made Post Malone?
6. Don’t be afraid to walk away. You’re not going to win over everybody. So if somebody tells you that Garth deserved Entertainer of the Year over Eric Church, or that Chris Stapleton really isn’t that good because he’s just screaming in all of his songs, you need to understand that some people are just lost causes and just walk away. Sure, they listen to shitty country music, but they’re the ones who have to listen to Kane Brown rap with a marshmallow while you’re losing yourself in two new Cody Jinks albums, so who’s the real winner here anyway? And as Tyler Childers once said, “It doesn’t hurt my feelings if you listen to shitty country music. That’s your fault.”
These are just a few tips that can help you discuss country music with your family at Thanksgiving. Remember, not everybody has good taste in country music like you do. But if you do your homework and follow this guide, you may just have them turning on Riley Green by the time the pecan pie comes around. (But maybe stay away from “I Wish Grandpas Never Died,” especially if your grandpa is sitting at the table).