We have a guest list for you today from Ridge Rhine. But first, a quick story.
A couple weeks ago I saw a kid on a skateboard push by a line of cars at a stop light, starting another ollie as soon as his board landed from the last. Every person at the intersection watched him, but his eyes were planted firmly on his board. When he reached the “Don’t Walk” sign, he abruptly stopped and raised his head, his afro following his eyes upward on a half-second delay. I swear that his eyes immediately snapped into eye contact with mine and nowhere else, his face expressionless. He was so focused on skating that he seemed to think of nothing else. He was probably 10.
When I saw that kid I thought of Ridge Rhine. The night I met Ridge, I walked into a room full of people I didn’t know, and three steps in the door this boy with an old white hat and nice glasses leaned over the couch and sort of hugged me without hugging me and made me laugh without saying anything. After sitting down, I realized that Ridge was quiet because I arrived halfway through a game of Werewolf and he was cast under a spell of silence.
Even without speaking, Ridge did something in that moment that I later recognized he does everywhere he goes—he makes people feel important. When Ridge is engaged in something that he’s passionate about, like playing guitar or skating or talking about the people he loves, he becomes totally absorbed by it. He does this not in a way that excludes or demeans you, but in a special way that inspires you to pour out your passion with the same dedication.
The funny thing is, one of the things he’s most passionate about is caring for the people in his sphere. When you talk to him, he’s absorbed by you and what you have to say. You feel like the most important person in his life in that moment. I think it brings him joy. And if you’ve met Ridge, you know his joy is visible in a way that melts away everything but the joy in you, too.
We’re happy to share this hot coal with you today, called “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”
By Ridge Rhine:
I have an old memory of my dad walking out of our house in North Carolina, putting his right foot on the front of our mini van and singing to the sky "thank God I'm a country boy." I remember the moment so clearly, but absolutely nothing surrounding it. He was wearing shades, a black tank top, basketball shorts and sandals. He was smiling like he does when he plays a game against me and my brother that he knows he will win. Like he does when he plays Mortal Combat on the super Nintendo and rips someone's skeleton out of their body. He harvested the power of every man on earth in that moment.
Every day of my life I'd hear my dad sing classic rock songs that came on the radio. A lot of times there were awesome memories encapsulated in these songs for my dad, and he would tell us stories from bar fights and crazy cover band shows to just being in awe of the musical genius when songs like "Peace of Mind" by Boston came out. It was truly impossible to live in close quarters with that man and not crave that.
This playlist consists of fifteen songs that I know, for the rest of my life, will never fail to take me back to some of my greatest memories. I am privileged enough to be able to revisit those memories whenever I want and feel a giant overwhelming wave of nostalgia when I hear these songs. Every cool old guy has a few songs that can send them back in time for a few minutes, and the stories they come back with are always so captivating. Please God let me have that one day....
- Doomsday - MF DOOM and MF Grimm
- Harnessed in Slums - Archers Of Loaf
- Are We Brothers? - Paper Rival
- Lyon - Pinback (Not on Apple; here's the YouTube link)
- Those Days Were Good Days (As Days Sometimes Are) - ((Sounder))
- Hummingbird - Seals and Crofts
- Champagne - 311
- The Light Is On - Christopher Cross
- Summer Shudder - AFI
- The Prisoner - Iron Maiden
- Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes
- Thanks for Nothing - Middle Brother
- Having A Blast - Green Day
- Her Goodbye Hit Me In The Heart - George Strait
- Cold - Crossfade
Apple Music playlist here.