The fact that a recipient of one of country music's most prestigious honors actually grew up in Alabama hating country music may qualify as blasphemy to some. But ask Beville Darden, co-founder and editor of The Boot why, and you may understand.
When Beville's freshman year boyfriend gave her Clint Black's album, 'No Time to Kill,' he completely changed her mind about country music. Beville loved it so much that she started to discover more artists in the genre, from the classics including Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson to current hitmakers like Faith Hill and Keith Urban.
After working in different areas of AOL over the last 7 years including AOL Radio, Spinner and AOL Music, Beville's deep love for country music led her to The Boot. It was in this role where she thrived, recently earning a prestigious honor in the country music community, a CMA Award. "I was flabbergasted and incredibly humbled when I won this award, I certainly wasn't expecting it," Beville said. "The Country Music Association is a historic, highly respected organization, and to be voted for this award by peers in the industry is an honor that still overwhelms me. This award also belongs to AOL, as it was given for the dedication to country music through journalism, and our company has given a lot of exposure to country music on not just The Boot but on several AOL and Huffington Post sites."
When asked about country music's recent ascension into main stream music, Beville explains that, "Unlike a lot of other genres, country music tells stories, and often these are stories that are relatable to everyone from a 10-year-old girl to her 80-year-old grandfather. The genre has always been this way, but with the infusion of a more of a pop-friendly sound, some of its songs are starting to get noticed outside of country radio. This actually dates back to before Taylor Swift was even born, with the Barbara Mandrells and Glen Campbells of the music world, but acts like Taylor and Lady Antebellum have taken the crossover popularity to new heights with great songs and incredible media exposure."
Beville spends her time outside of work entertaining friends with new recipes, but still dreams of ridiculing celebrities as a comedienne on "Saturday Night Live." Her biggest inspiration is her mother who "recently beat breast cancer, and acted like it was nothing but a stubbed toe. Her decision not to let cancer change her life in the least bit amazed me. As great as her doctor was, I'm convinced it was her attitude that was the best medicine." When asked about the things she can't live without, Beville simply responded, "My amazingly supportive, wonderful, loving family ... or coffee."
Stay connected with the latest in country music and bluegrass news, videos, songs, interviews and live performances by visiting The Boot and reading Beville's blog posts here.