Up until September of this year, Old Town Road for me was just a scenic drive in Sicamous.
Recording artist Lil Nas X and his chart-topping hit, Old Town Road, hadn’t registered.
That changed, however, after the sign marking the way to Sicamous’ Old Town Bay had been stolen. The theft was immediately linked to the popular, genre-crossing hit which spent 19 weeks in the number one spot in Billboard’s Hot 100 (the most a song has ever held that position – thank you Wikipedia).
It suddenly became part of my job, I would argue, to watch the video for Old Town Road. While I found it entertaining, I was more impressed with the fact little Sicamous was suddenly trending – with headlines unrelated to flooding or some other tragedy (the kinds of things that normally attract the interest of larger media outlets outside the Shuswap).
Even more rewarding was Sicamous’ response, printing out Sicamous-branded Old Town Road road signs to sell to the public, with a complimentary sign sent to Lil Nas X himself (well, his manager).
Overall, it was a good-humoured response to a bit of mischief and it made for one of my favourite local stories of the year.
Old Town Road found its way back into my life earlier this week after I handed my old SIM card-less iPhone down to my 10-year-old son. He sometimes enjoys taking photos – just like his old man – and I thought it might inspire him to do more. He became completely engrossed in learning all aspects of this new-to-him bit of technology, and was soon surfing the Internet. In the process, he discovered Old Town Road (a Minecraft video version). It turns out he likes the song. A lot.
The other night, it was Old Town Road on steady repeat.
And as I watched my son, walking around with his equivalent of my first Sony Walkman, I felt a deeper respect for that truism so many people share about kids when you have them: they grow up fast.
I expect it won’t be long before my son has filled his phone with music – music that contributes to how he defines himself in his journey to discover who and what he wants to be.
I’m excited my son is getting into music. With repeated trips down Old Town Road, though, I expect I’ll soon be introducing him to a set of earphones.