Apolitical Country Songs To Help Survive The Political Season

October 23, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  32 Comments

About this time every four years the political rhetoric reaches critical mass as TV, radio, and the internet are permeated with political ads, while your personal social network feed is filled with political memes and other such oversimplifications of issues we’ve been fighting to resolve for decades.

One of the beautiful things about music is it’s ability to unify us under the universal appeal of rhythm. That’s why I’m usually turned off by political music, because it evokes the very things you reach out to music to escape from. If a song can’t say it subtly, then it might as well not say it at all.

In that spirit, here are some apolitical, or anti-political songs to help survive the political season.

Leroy Virgil (Hellbound Glory) – What’s This World Coming To (If It Ain’t Coming To An End)

“Well now all them corporate Christians, and the goddamn Democrats, and them blood-sucking Republicans, they aught to all get off our backs. And I’ll say it again. I’ll never trust no government. ‘Cause what’s this old world coming it, if it ain’t coming to an end.”

“Crashing planes and Saddam Hussein and ever since them towers fell. If we ain’t fighting with the whole damn world we’re fighting with ourselves.”

By being an equal opportunity offender and focusing in on how the polarization of the country is causing more problems than the respective sides are trying to fix, Leroy finds some genius through the power of simple perspective while communicating the fear we all have that the divisiveness is dragging us all down, regardless of our political stripes. (unreleased)

(recorded at the house of .357 String Band’s Derek Dunn)

Merle Haggard – Rainbow Stew

“When they find out how to burn water, and the gasoline car is gone. When an airplane flies without ay fuel and the sunlight heats our home. When the President goes through the White House door, and does what he says he’ll do, well I’ll be drinkin’ that free bubble-up, and eating that rainbow stew.”

From a man who was well-known for his flag-waving anthems early in his career, here came this strange, obtuse, but nonetheless brilliant song off his 1981 Rainbow Stew Live At Anaheim Stadium album. Merle makes you read between the lines, and seems to be challenging the ideas of a utopian society while at the same time praying for them. Or as one person put it, “It refers to stubbornly having a positive outlook in the face of great adversity.” Is it using sarcasm to knock environmentalism, or promoting it? “Rainbow Stew” is like a chameleon, shaping it’s colors to the character of the individual listener, making it mean whatever you want it to mean. I’ve always thought it was Merle’s greatest song.

Chris Knight – Nothing On Me

“And their layin’ ‘em off down at Kankakee, and there’s boards on the windows up and down the street. And they’re saying that it’s gonna get darker before the dawn. But you can bet your ass I’ll keep the lights on, keep my babies fed and throw a dog a bone. ‘Cause I’m a bring it on, git ‘er done, don’t run S.O.B. Times are tough, but they ain’t got nothing on me.”

While the world is busy pointing fingers, Chris Knight is busy writing poignant songs preaching about the virtue of self-preservation and self-reliance and looking at tough times and laughing. His latest album Little Victories has a few good songs like this and is a political album done right.

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Centreville

“If your ears are bleeding it just me and the boys, we’re over-educated and we’re underemployed.”

“We’re low down and pitiful, we’re broke down in Centreville, we got to rock on.”

“On the banks, the (??? – citation needed), the President or the press, lay the blame on every damn thing but yourself.”

This is about as rocking as Lee Bains and the Glory Fires get, and they get apolitical on your ass by finding character and pride in their own pathetic state of affairs as opposed to pointing the menacing finger of blame towards others in a refreshing and wise sense of perspective.

32 Comments to “Apolitical Country Songs To Help Survive The Political Season”

  • Thanks for this…we need more of this kind of perspective in the U.S.!


  • thats actually a good question, I’d kind of like an answer too.





    • Good one!


      • Huh, that’s an apolitical country sound?

        It doesn’t sound remotely country, it sounds like a softer version of Neil Young’s rocking in the free world, but only more overt in its liberalism.

        The lyrics are what you would expect from the John Cougar Mellancamp/Bruce Springsteen liberals preaching about the how they want to protect teachersfrom mean old corporations who want to cut government spending.

        The rich corporations have turned a deaf ear
        They don’t care who goes hungry, they’ve made that much clear
        You see the trouble with people is we wanna believe
        But they can’t turn a profit without tricks up their sleeve

        It’s the roofers and truckers, the working cla*s suckers
        The firemen and teachers, the soldiers and preachers
        Who shoulder the blows, it comes and it goes
        A six trillion dollar debt, you pay through the nose

        On top of that, the lyrics are incredibly stupid.


        East Timor’s genocide to the core
        The Indonesian legions come and give ‘em what for
        When the Coalition Army doesn’t come to your aid
        You might as well face it, there’s no money to be made

        I had a dream last night, I was secretary of defense
        And I came to the conclusion, war doesn’t make any sense, yeah
        But nobody heard me when I tried to rescind it
        There were too many people that just didn’t want to end it

        So let me get this straight. In the same verse he bemoans the fact that we won’t go to war in East Timor, while at the same time saying that if he were secretary of defense he would never go to war.


        I can’t stand Toby Keith/ (recent) Hank Jr. ‘Merica chest thumping; but this stuff is just as bad.


        • And Crowell is doing 150 dollar fundraisers for Obama. How apolitical.



          • Welp, didn’t take long for this post to get political, now did it?


          • Well Mike it looks like you didn’t listen to the chorus’. Let me help you out with an analogy. I’ve been studying politics since I asked my Mom “Why is the President (Nixon) in trouble?”. I’m a political junky. Every October I go to a music festival here in Northern California and it’s the only three days of the year I walk slow and refuse to talk about politics. The point is that yes there are some seriously screwed up stuff in our world and there is a time and a place to discuss them but there are times to shut the hell up and drink your beer.
            Don’t get me started. I came into this bar to unwind….


          • Trig: It got political when Lancehole posted a extremely left wing song as apolitical and you said it was great example of an apolitical song. I don’t see how me pointing out that the song had a political message then was what what made us “get political.”

            Lancehole: Yes, I got that point. That doesn’t change the fact that it is a political song. There are a ton of songs which make a bunch of left wing gripes, and then say let’s “that’s how it goes”–e.g. John Cougar Mellancamp-Pink Houses, Bruce Hornsby’s The Way It Is. No one will deny that they are political, and they are much more subtle than Crowell’s.

            Do you have any doubt that Randy Crowell agrees with every complaint made in the song? Of course not.

            I don’t have a problem with partisan songs, and I like some liberal songs and some conservative songs. From all the songs that Trig posted, I could say I would not know what the political orientation of the person writing the song was, that’s definitely not the case here.


  • Merle’s vision of the sunlight heating our home is already a reality, and it could be done on a much wider scale. That is, if some politicians funded by dirty energy profits don’t get in the way. I hope that some type of civil disobedience can defy these corrupt politicians.


    • Speaking of Rainbow Stew, whatever happened to Bubble-Up anyway? I blame one of the politicians for taking that sweet lemon lime soda away. Bastards!!!!


    • Guess you don’t live in the pacific Northwest, eh Eduardo? FYI, anyone who thinks Mr. Obama or any other Democrat actually wants to dismantle the oil industry can go look in the mirror to see the definition of “sucker”.


      • Do me a favor, and show some respect to my other readers, okay? The point of this whole article was to make a statement about how our divisiveness is dragging us down, and you and others are proving exactly why.


  • I am not voting Democrat or Republican in the US Presidential election or in the Tn US Senate election.

    I lean very hard right and have ever since the mid-1970s.

    I like Bocephus’ new CD and dislike similar CDs by Neil Young, Steve Earle and Jackson Browne (each of whom I am crazy about and have all of their other CDs, but don’t like their uber-liberal politics.

    It’s probably vice-versa if you are a liberal.

    And I like music that is either apolitical or anti-establishment (maybe Anarchy in the UK is a little much for me, but you know what I mean).

    I don’t care too much for Rodney Crowell or, for that matter, many other Beta male artists.

    The way Rodney dies and curls his hair makes him resemble Joe Diffie, which sure ain’t good.

    I am not surprised that Rodney is hosting fuctions for Obama – it’s pretty easy for me to envision.


  • Love Merle Haggard, but i cant stand Rainbow Stew.


  • Trig, what Merle is saying in Rainbow Stew is “free Bubble-Up”! Back in the early 1960’s the two most popular lemon-lime sodas out here on the west coast were “7 Up” and “Bubble Up” and they tasted exactly the same! I have no idea what ever happened to the “Bubble Up” brand name.

    Since this apolitical thread has turned political it’s time for me to have a little fun!

    The mostly outmoded Wechsler IQ scale has been revived and amended just in time for the November 2012 Presidential Election season! Most people are familiar with the IQ rating scale for the mentally feeble:
    Borderline Deficiency (IQ 70-80)
    Moron (IQ 50-69)
    Imbecile (IQ 20-49)
    Idiot (IQ below 20)

    What is fascinating is that an entirely new category has recently been added! Based upon events of the last four years, plus the recent debates, it has been decided the following category is irrefutable and totally relevant:
    “Repeat Obamavoters” (IQ below 0!)

    Anyone who doesn’t think this is funny is either: A.) a Repeat Obamavoter, or as Lenin described them, B.) a “Useful Idiot”

    I’m just afraid that democrat sanctioned voter fraud in large population states controlled by democrat politicians will hand Obama an unearned victory just as happened recently with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela! Leftist vultures of a feather do flock (and cheat) together.

    My idea of A-Political songs include Merle Haggard’s “Fightin’ Side of Me” and Hank Jr’s “Keep The Change”, so there! (lol)


  • Well, that sure fell apart quick like. It would be an amusing comment on the sad state of political discourse, except by now I’m sick of the inanity that passes for political discourse in much of this country. I was down to this blog and a board on vintage bikes, but at this rate I’ll be turning off the internet entire until well post election.

    No great waste. I’ve got the Fire and Hail reissue on vinyl, just picked up some old Al Green lps, the nice Fat Possum reissue of Towne’s Old Quarter live lp, the Ray Stinnett issue on Light in the Attic, and some other great stuff. Think I’ll ride out our political apocalypse just fine, thanks.

    Mr. Triggerman, no more political posts, even apolitical ones like this. Folks can’t handle them.

    And fellow readers, even if whichever anti-christ you hate wins the election, the USA is unlikely to be tossed into a ring of fire.


  • Well, I’m writing in Patrick Henry (PC – Virginia.) He opposed ratification of the Constitution, so I don’t know what that makes me…


  • 16 comments in, and nobody has mentioned what a badass songwriter Leroy Virgil is. This dude could write a masterpiece song while falling out of bed. He’s got dozens of songs like “What’s This World Coming To (If It Ain’t Coming To An End)” just sitting there, unrecorded, unreleased. It’s sick.


    • Funny, I was on my way down the comments to say there was another version of this on youtube awhile back and this quickly fell into my tops list. I’ve spent entire days just surfing YouTube listening to Leroy sitting in various living rooms absolutely killing it. There was a Christmas son he had too that was morbid genius. The guy is our generation’s Willie. I hope he puts out music for as many years as he has.


  • it’s not country, but one of the lines in “47 Crosses” by The Goddamn Gallows is “…i can’t wait for everything to end…”. that about sums it up for me. that, and yes, Leroy Virgil is a motherfucking scumbag genius.


    • it ain’t never gonna


  • Little ironic that you post videos of hard rock bands at a site called savingcountrymusic.com. My two bits.


    • I didn’t post a video of a hard rock band, I posted a video from a roots band who has one hard rock song, as I also posted about in the article. I’m a music fan first, then I am a country fan. What did you think about the other three songs? I thought these were 4 excellent contributions to the music world, and so I wanted to share them with my readers. I apologize if that somehow offends you.


      • I really liked the Chris Knight song, I downloaded the album after seeing it, and I thought it was even better with a full band. Not to get too bitchy about semantics, but I don’t really see it as an “apolitical” song, I just see it as non-political. (And just to clarify, I’d say an apolitical song is a song that talks about politics, but does not take a side; while a non-political song is a song that has absolutely nothing to do with politics) I can see how you view at as being about not pointing fingers or bitching, but especially given the verse about the dog, I really just see it as a struggling through hard times song. Anyway, thanks for introducing us to it.

        Huge Merle fan, but didn’t really like Rainbow Stew.

        Huge Hellbound fan as well, but that song didn’t really do it for me. Lyrics were fine, but didn’t like the music all that much. Maybe if he added the bass and lap steel, I’d feel differently.


  • Jackson Taylor— “Let the Bad Times Roll” and “Old Henry Rifle”.

    Apolitical…calls both sides like they are.


  • Could one call “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” by John Prine apolitical? Right wing war or left wing war – “Jesus don’t like killing,no matter what the reason for’..


  • I’m voting for Willie Nelson.


    • Oops, you just revealed your political views!


  • Music can change the world, change laws and confront or promote any social movement. You can see the Top 10 Songs about Breaking the Law at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2013/05/top-10-songs-about-breaking-law.html


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