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Taylor Noel

Rooted in Country: Ryanhood's Cameron Hood on Garth Brooks' 'Unanswered Prayers'

Tucson, Arizona-based folk duo Ryanhood (Cameron Hood and Ryan David Green) got their start performing at Boston's Quincy Market, where they were spotted by a college booking agent. After launching a successful tour of college campuses, the duo has since gone on to share the stage with Jason Mraz, Train and more.

But for Cameron Hood, the duo's primary lyricist, the comfort and reassurance of music and lyrics was made apparent years before.

"I was lucky enough to grow up with two parents who both loved music," Hood tells Wide Open Country. "My mom especially listened to, and bought, everything good that was on the radio. And while she gravitated towards rock and roll, if the writing was good—regardless of the genre—she'd buy it."
Hood says his love of the music of one country superstar is thanks in part to his mom — and her impressive CD collection.
"When my parents split and my dad moved from Arizona to Kansas City, MO, all of a sudden country music really showed up on my kid-radar for the first time," Hood says. "So at summer break when I went back to Tucson to visit my mom, I told her about this cool country guy I'd heard of in the midwest called Garth Brooks. I asked if she'd ever heard of him. She proceeded to thumb past the Springsteen, the U2, the Beatles, and the new age CDs in her collection until she found what she was looking for. She then happily put a copy of both No Fences and Ropin' the Wind into the 5-CD changer and pressed 'Play.'"
While he didn't necessarily relate to the eeriness of  Brooks' "The Thunder Rolls" or the message of "Friends in Low Places," there was one song on 1990's No Fences that was an immediate comfort to the then 11-year-old: "Unanswered Prayers."
"I loved SO many songs on those two albums! I have to admit that my 11-year old brain wasn't totally sure what was happening in 'The Thunder Rolls,' (I just knew it was bad) and I didn't quite know what it meant to have 'Friends in Low Places' (just that it was probably also bad). But the song 'Unanswered Prayers' made immediate sense to me. Maybe it was because I was a religious kid hearing about God in a 'secular' song (which I figured was probably good), or maybe it was because I had my first real crush on a girl in fifth grade and I remember praying a LOT that, 'God would make her mine.'  Either way, as a kid going back and forth between parents, I found a lot of comfort in Garth's sweet, strong, reassuring voice. And when he sang that 'some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers'— that things would ultimately work out somehow—I believed him."
Read More: Rooted in Country: Jamestown Revival on Guy Clark and Willie Nelson
Ryanhood released their most recent album, Under the Leaves, last year
For more information on Ryanhood, visit the duo's official website.