Last night, I was at a show. For the final song, the band broke out into a crowd favorite. As soon as you hear those opening notes, you know it’s gonna be fun.
In the final chorus, the singer thought he’d appeal to the audience, and changed the words to “Sweet Home California!”
I was deeply offended.
Well, only a little offended. But you know what? I realized something, in that moment that has sort of summed up our past two years out here on the West Coast: in the same way singing about the swamplands just didn’t work among these dear granola lovers, my Jesus-loving, butter-slatthering, hydrangea-growing, hot weather-craving self just doesn’t totally fit out here. Folks are surprisingly really nice out this way. But I get a little weary of being asked two or three times a week, “Where’s that accent from?” (Though I’m never ashamed to say where, I don’t think I have an “accent!”)
It’s like when you’ve been on a really great vacation. You know, you’ve had the time of your life, made memories you’ll never forget, but you just want to be home. Home — to unpack your things, to stand in your own kitchen, and get back to the friends you so dearly miss.
So while I really didn’t mind hearing the crowd sing along to “Sweet Home California,” that song will always have a special place in my heart. After all, it reminds me of home. I spent a few glorious years living in Jacksonville, the hometown of the noble band itself, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and a few more of my childhood living in in Alabama.
So remember, y’all. It’s Sweet Home ALABAMA. It’s a classic. And no other state will do.
What’s your favorite Southern anthem?
[For a different take at this classic song, check out one of my favorite blogs by Southern Seminary professor and country music lover Russell Moore featuring his popular series The Cross and the Jukebox on “Sweet Home Alabama.”]