Moonshine and Melodies or How A City Slicker Became A Country Music Fan

The long dusty road to somewhere special

Ash Jurberg
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readJan 29, 2024


Western country cowboy musician with guitar
Adobe Library Image

There I was, wearing my new Johnny Cash t-shirt and cowboy boots, holding a glass of moonshine, and singing along to Zac Bryan in a poorly attempted southern drawl. The unlikely transformation was complete. I was a Country Music convert — and damn proud of it.

"Coz the haters, gonna hate, hate, hate." Taylor Swift

Growing up in the 80s and 90s in Melbourne, Australia, there was no country music. It was all about pub bands — beer, bands, and sticky floors. Rock, grunge, punk, alternative — any music you could drink beer and enthusiastically mosh to. It was played out in smoke-filled venues where your shoes occasionally stuck to the floor, and conversing over the noise was impossible. And I loved it all.

To me, country music was considered hick music — listened to by rural bumpkins who married their cousins and had never been to the big smoke. Whenever someone mentioned country, I pictured Cletus, the Slack Jawed Yokel character in the Simpsons. It was a racist and inaccurate stereotype, but I was a fancy city boy who knew no better.

Sure, the occasional song filtered through the cracks, broke into the mainstream, and made it to my airwaves. The Gambler by…