Get the Message?

by Alison Bonaguro
(as seen in Country Music Today, Sept/Oct. 2005)


When I meet someone who shares my love of a certain artist, it doesn't take long before I'm comfortable saying those three little words: Do you post?

Message boards are the group-therapy sessions of country music. You can go there knowing that you're not alone, and that hundreds of others feel just like you do. And you can be completely honest in your posts. You don't have to downplay things like you do in real life. If you saw Trace Adkins nine times in one summer, you can admit it. Proudly.

If you've never been to an artist's message board, the language takes a little getting used to. LOL means laugh out loud, JMO is just my opinion, OMG is oh my God, BTW is by the way. And when song titles get too long to type, people come up with initials for those, too. That's the easy part. It's when people string those together that it gets a little trickier. As in, "OMG! OMG! OMG! Have you heard MGADB? It's the best, LOL. BTW, that's JMO."

But not everything is rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-your-ass-off funny. Sometimes the talk gets out of hand and moderators have to shut the boards down. It happened on a Keith Urban board, and now the guidelines remind people only to post what you would say to a nun or a 10-year-old. Which means you're forced to talk about his music, his tour and his guitars, instead of his come-here-baby smile, his bedroom eyes and his tight little ass.

But when everyone behaves, these message boards can be almost as addicting as the music itself. The virtual friends you make online are some of the best, because you already have a passion in common. And if you're lucky enough to finally meet them in person, you'll be guaranteed a friend for life. Unless, of course, you change your taste in music.

Overheard on the boards:

On Trace Adkins' board, fans swap stories about their lives of crime. The new Waffle House menu is a fan must-have, even if it means stealing it. They even decided that getting arrested would be okay if Trace was there to frisk them.

Fans on Tim McGraw's board post their feelings about Tim's old hat. Some miss it, some are happy with the new one. It's sleek, fits his face, and adds mystery. Ultimately, they all agree: Tim would look good in anything (or nothing) .

On the Dierks Bentley board, someone posed the open-ended question: who would you like to see DB perform with? Joe Nichols, Miranda Lambert, Jeff Bates, Pat Green, Shooter Jennings, Alison Krauss, even Kid Rock all got mentions. If Dierks reads his own messageboard, he may get a few ideas for his 2006 tour.

Jo Dee Messina's board has a post asking for everyone's favorite song that was never released. Songs like "Cover Me," "Let it Go," "No Time for Tears," "I Didn't Have to Leave" are just a few. Fans this passionate love all the songs, even the ones that never made it to radio.

"It's over between us, Kenny." That's the title of the post that has Chesney fans lamenting the good old days of the fan club. The days when Kenny wrote in online journals, and offered great seats and meet & greets, to members.   From the number of posts in this thread, it's obvious that misery loves company.