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Senior Year

Senior Year, 2004: Sounds From the 4-H Club

by Linda Ryan

Senior Year, 2004: Sounds From the 4-H Club

About this playlist

If you grew up in the Midwest, you know what the 4-H Club stands for. I mean, what it really stands for not just the "head, heart, hands and health" motto that makes up the four H's. The idea is simple: teach young people and their families the skills they need to be proactive forces in their communities, and develop ideas for a more innovative economy. The program revolutionized the way science was taught outside the classroom; in 100+ years of active service, more than 60 million youth have used the program, from elementary school kids to high school seniors.

With its emphasis on agriculture, livestock and community, the 4-H is a natural fit for rural youth growing up in small towns and on farms. Naturally, these kids prefer country music, a style with lyrics reflecting both the charm and the claustrophobia of small-town living. If any song understood the need to pick up and run away, it was Sara Evans' "Suds in the Bucket." If any song reflected the joys of simple small-town living, it was Darryl Worley's "Awful Beautiful Life." And certainly, no one tapped into the heartbreak of sending former 4-H participants off to war better than John Michael Montgomery's poignant heartbreaker "Letters from Home."

All of these songs hit the country charts in 2004. If you were a senior in high school and 4-H member back then, chances are this playlist was the soundtrack to your life some seven years ago.