We moved to Seattle, and despite the fact that the nearest cowboy was on the other side of the mountains, there were two or three country music stations on the radio. Pop stations occasionally played "cross-over" tunes. I ignored them, shunning them as music for people who dropped out of 4th grade to pursue a life in the rodeo.
Even when I worked in rural Oregon and Washington where I covered rodeos and took the mug shots of the rodeo queens, and most of the "music" on the radio was country, I detested it.
And then I heard, as I was channel surfing, an announcer introduce a song which he claimed was called "Work Your Fingers To The Bone, And What Do You Get? Bony Fingers" which was then played live for the studio audience. I can't remember when or where that was, but ever since, my attitude changed. There were people in country music with the same warped sense of humor as me.
One thing led to another, and I sought out country novelty songs. And then that leaked into finding singers I enjoyed. Reba MacEntire sings in my key (an octave higher). So does Anne Murray. And Dolly Parton. Which brings me to a little twist - the first time I heard "I Will Always Love You", it was Dolly on the soundtrack of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Her version still makes me all misty-eyes, and when Whitney hijacked and completely eviscerated it, I was livid. That was after I discovered Dolly did not only sing it, she wrote it. She wrote the whole musical. I'm impressed.
Then there was the country which I didn't know was country. In 1973 I was in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Astoria, OR community theater, and to pass the time during gaps in the rehearsals, the guy who played Schroeder taught us a bunch of John Prine songs. "Grandpa Was A Carpenter", "4-Way Stop Dilemma", "Dear Abby" and my favorite "Please Don't Bury Me". Somehow a song taught you you by Schroeder doesn't click as country. I learned "Illegal Smile" as a protest song in college.
And then there's Jimmy Buffet, who has come up a lot of clever lyrics and catchy tunes. One could argue that his music isn't really country, so I will. :-)
What got me going on this topic is I was in the car yesterday in a Dayquil haze, and the clever lyrics of a particular country song got me to thinking about a Facebook meme: