Arts, iEdit

 iEdit: Stitzel Can’t Hide Her Subtle Country Roots Anymore

Beware and be warned: Assistant Arts editor Leah Stitzel’s iEdit has a deceivingly simple and innocent enough title, “iedit/ignoring my homework,” but the playlist exposes one of Leah’s deepest and darkest secrets. “Ignoring my homework” was code for something much more sinister. 

Leah listens to country music. 

This shouldn’t be all too surprising given her North Carolina heritage, but still, Leah hides her love for country music well. At production she seems to be invested in today’s most prominent artists, discussing the likes of Taylor Swift and listening to Ye’s new VULTURES 1 album, but don’t let Leah fool you. 

Leah’s sleeper-country folk playlist isn’t all the evils of the country genre, though. 

Leah manages to pick out some of the best country I’ve heard, both lyrically and rhythmically, to mark her grand reveal as an avid country listener. Her playlist has changed how I look at the country genre for the better.

Leah’s first song is John Denver’s “Prisoners,” a lesser-known song from a classic artist. In fact, it’s the third-to-last song on Spotify’s “This is John Denver” playlist. The lyrics reflect loneliness and isolation, just like how the country genre might feel out of place at Boston College. 

Good thing country has found a home on Leah’s playlist.

“​​It’s a hard time waitin’ for tomorrow / It’s a long, long way home,” Denver sings. 

The next two songs on Leah’s playlist continue to push the theme of longing to find the way back home. 

“The Once and Future Carpenter” by The Avett Brothers and “Gone for Good” by The Shins sound very different in terms of their rhythms and production, though, showing me how versatile this genre of music could really be. 

It really made me wonder—what else is Leah hiding from the Arts section? 

I was picturing Leah growing up on the lam as a young ginger, roaming the countryside with nothing but a guitar, a volleyball, and a dream. Somehow she found her way to BC, and better yet, to The Heights.

Leah’s next two picks take a detour from country music to showcase some of Leah’s more folk-rock picks on the playlist. It was comforting to know country hadn’t completely taken Leah from us. 


“Moonshine,” by Hippo Campus, is very upbeat and a little more optimistic than the playlist’s early songs. 

“Don’t worry so much / Even though the best of us are already gone / We’ll live another day with a special someone on the tip of our tongues,” lead singer Jake Luppen sings. 

I’m not going to pretend U2 is a country group—because it’s not. If they’ve ever made one country-sounding song, however, it’s “Running To Stand Still.” The song features a harmonica outro, but still feels classically U2. 

Leah was really fighting to prove that the country genre can be anything you want it to be, and she continued with more proof in the second half of her playlist.

“La Mia” by Susto is a love song more lyrically earnest and genuine than anything the pop genre could produce. “This Must Be the Place” by Ben Bridwell and Iron & Wine is a similar love song, diving deeper into the country genre’s signature lovesick dreamer trope.

While I’m shocked she presented me with a country playlist, I still feel like it makes sense for her to listen to these songs. 

Leah’s rise to stardom, from IM volleyball opponent to Arts staffer, and now to a fellow editor and friend reflects the passion and drive of a country listener, but also requires a specific mental state. It’s no wonder, then, that Leah’s next pick is “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon.

To be fair, Simon’s song might be the least country genre song on Leah’s playlist and feels much more like it belongs in the folk genre. But then again, aren’t the folk and country genres more or less the same thing?

My favorite song on Leah’s playlist was track nine, “Wide Open Spaces” by The Chicks. Leah adding this song to her playlist fit the vibe of the playlist’s lyrics and sound so far, and I feel like it’s the type of song that could be a sleeper hit on the Sunday’s production queue. 

Leah’s always saying the Arts section deserves aux, and if she’s going to be playing bangers like this, her cries are warranted.

“She needed wide open spaces,” The Chicks sing. “Room to make her big mistakes / She needs new faces / She knows the high stakes.”

“Wide Open Spaces” is the best of the country genre, with a catchy tune and a story about a girl who’s just trying to make it in the big world. Leah’s trip from the south to BC hasn’t been an easy one, but she’s come out on the other side stronger for it.

The playlist’s last song, “Angel from Montgomery (2008 Remaster)” by Bonnie Raitt, encapsulates the essence of the story Leah is trying to tell. It reminds me of Denver’s “Prisoners,” but evolved and much more self-realized. 

Leah may hide her musical country roots well, but she should showcase them more often. They make for a great iEdit playlist and are definitive proof to country haters everywhere (myself formerly included) that the country genre can make real music too. 

April 4, 2024