George Strait & Jamey Johnson’s New Song “Kicked Outta Country” Has Powerful Message

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Country protest songs are a dime a dozen these days, and in many cases have become just about as cliche as the pop country songs they criticize. It really takes a fresh angle or a unique twist to make a protest song resonate beyond the anger many folks have at the direction of today’s country music, and that is what Jamey Johnson and George Strait have done with their new song “Kicked Outta Country.”

Appearing on George Strait’s Strait Out of The Box Part 2 being released on Friday, November 18th, it is one of two new songs featured on the box set. Strait isn’t really known for getting too riled about the state of country music, despite being a traditionalist himself and having been shuffled out of the spotlight in recent years. Aside from his rendition of “Murder on Music Row” with Alan Jackson, Strait mostly keeps his opinions to himself.

But on “Kicked Outta Country,” Strait tells it like it is, yet resolves with a very important message for all the folks complaining about what has happened to all the old greats on country radio and beyond.

During the release show of his new box set at historic Gruene Hall Wednesday evening (11-16), Strait explained how the inspiration for the song came about at Tapatio Springs during a charity golf event for the troops.

“Last year, Jamey [Johnson] always comes out and plays in it, and at night we get up and do a jam session and play a couple,” Strait explains “So I came off the stage and Jamey says, ‘So when you going back into the studio, I sure would love to send you some songs.’ I said ‘Sure, I’d love to hear them, but they probably won’t play them on the radio anymore. He goes, ‘Yeah, you know they kicked me out of country too.’ I got to thinking about that the next day, and I thought, ‘You know what, that’s a song title there.’ I texted Jamey and I said either you’re going to write it, I’m going to write it, or we’re both going to write it together. So we wrote it together.”

Johnson has also shared his perspective on how “Kicked Outta Country” came about.

“We wrote it by text message,” chuckled Johnson when speaking to The Commercial Appeal. “I don’t know if it’s a first for either one of us, but it’s definitely a first for the two of us working that way together. He sent me these lines, and I sent him some lines back. He really liked it and asked what it would sound like, and I said, ‘Well let me put a melody to it and I’ll send it to you.’ And that’s how it came to be.”

What’s unique about “Kicked Outta Country” is that instead of just raising gripes, it also adds the perspective that even though these country greats got shuffled aside, they still kept making music, fans still kept listening, and the music survived, and even found renewed success when the trends swung back towards traditional country again, just like they are doing today.

You can find the lyrics for “Kicked Outta Country” below.

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I just got the news today, the record I sent them they threw it away
It don’t fit the format, don’t make the list
They said I’m too old, won’t even be missed

It happened to Jones, and even The Hag
Willie and Waylon, and the great Johnny Cash
They all got kicked outta country back then
But then one day country came calling again

Cash stomped out the footlights
Haggard, he had a ball
And Willie and Waylon, they stole the nation
And Jones never showed up at all

They lived what the wrote, and wrote what they sang
So getting kicked outta country didn’t hurt a thing
Getting kicked outta country didn’t hurt a thing

I just wrote a new song today
I pulled out my old guitar, and I started to play
Pressing my fingers into the strings
I felt the feeling a country song brings

I did some Jones, and one for The Hag
Waylon and Willie, and the great Johnny Cash
They all got kicked outta country back then
But then one day country came calling again

Cash stomped out the footlights
Haggard, he had a ball
And Willie and Waylon, they stole the nation
And Jones showed up after all

They lived what the wrote, and wrote what they sang
So getting kicked outta country didn’t hurt a thing
Getting kicked outta country didn’t hurt a thing

It don’t really matter, because I ain’t gonna change
Cause getting kicked outta country, won’t hurt a thing