Feb
15

Hipster Irony Goes Country with Jonny Corndawg

February 15, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  75 Comments

When I first saw Jonny Corndawg’s Down on the Bikini Line album come across the wires this summer, with this dude’s ironic name, the ironic album cover and title, and a track list of ironic songs, I didn’t even give it a sniff. Go ahead, accuse me of judging a book by it’s cover, but when The Nashville Scene anointed this guy an “Outlaw”, compared him to David Allan Coe and Down on the Bikini Line to Coe’s Penitentiary Blues, I knew I couldn’t avoid taking a deeper look and listen any longer.

Jonny Corndawg, or whatever his real name is, is not a cowboy, he’s a marathon-running hipster making fun of you and me and rural country culture with his ironic getup and cornpone songs. And when I say “hipster” I mean take-your-iMac-down-to-the-local-coffee-shop-and-pontificate-loudly-about-micro-loans-to-battered-African-women-to-get-laid-by-anthropogy-majoring-college-girls-looking-to-rebel-against-their-Judea-Christian-upbringing hipster. It’s all irony folks, the cover, the songs, the hat, the boots, his leather-clad guitar with the Chevy emblem on it, it’s all designed to poke fun at country culture, and not in a way that is either enlightening, respectful, or that carries a message. It’s for attention.

Now, when you cyber stalk this dude, you will find some people defending him, pointing to his serious leatherworking passion or his real-life truck driving experience, or this, or that to say this guy is just a rare bird that can’t be pigeon-holed and nobody should try. All of that may be true, but the two things I know for sure after listening to this album many times is 1) he employs a tremendous amount of irony in his music 2) he’s craves a tremendous amount of attention. And both of those things are fundamental in the ironic hipster culture.

On his own website he says about Down on the Bikini Line that it’s, “in the vein of that obscure ’70s gay country that housewives would discover on a Bear Family reissue in twenty years” on a page that, for irony, uses a soccer ball template for the screen background. Oh, and let me mention that he also used Kickstarter for this album, not to record it, but to promote it: i.e. the need for attention.

But the thing that really gives him away is the pentameter and the higher register that he sings in, which when you strip all the visual things back, is the undeniable mark of indie hipster music and can’t be explained away by other things that may or may not exist in his schtick. And even if he truly isn’t a hipster, I don’t know if it matters because this is an instance where perception truly is reality, and my perception of Jonny Corndawg is that he is making fun of you and me, and I can’t get that feeling out of my head to submit to this music.

And just to clarify, there is nothing specifically wrong with hipsters, hipster culture, irony, or irony in music or country music specifically. There are a lot of indie bands and acts I appreciate, but I appreciate them in their element and when they’re represented authentically. And even when irony is brought to country music, it can work as long as it feels like there’s still that underlying element of respect there, or if there’s a message, like making fun of modern pop country for example. Just a few weeks ago I reviewed an album from Some Velvet Evening that employed irony rather well, and whenever these comedy/ironic albums come up, I always refer back to one of the best ever done, Ween’s 12 Golden Country Greats from 1996.

Now the next thing you probably expect me to do is wizz all over Jonny Corndawg’s music specifically. Well unfortunately folks, I am unable to do that. Because despite all that was said above, when you clean the slate of all the irony and hipster-rific schtick, what you have here is some pretty amazing music and intelligent, funny songwriting, and a lot of well-executed and engaging country instrumentation in songs that are just undeniably great.

From Outlaw to gospel and everything in between, Corndawg displays himself as a master of his craft, a brilliant artist and a tireless student of his medium who understands timing, tones, and texture. As you listen to this album, you begin to understand that the quirkiness of the Jonny Corndawg character is an outside symptom of the brilliance of the artist inside of him, bursting with creativity no matter where it is expressed: music, leatherwork, or in the case of the “Jonny Corndawg” music persona, character creation. The dude seems to be like a cultural sponge, soaking up Ameriana, and not only understanding the modes of how it works, but picking up on the nuances that engage people and make them laugh.

The 1/2 time Outlaw-esque “Shaved (Like a razor)” I hate to love. The upbeat and rocking “Chevy Beretta” and “Red on the Head” get your heart pumping and have you laughing out loud. The spatial “Night Rider” is delicate and intelligent. And even the songs that are more indie hipster rock instead of country like “Undercover Dad” still work within their element.

So did I come to an epiphany on Jonny Corndawg eventually and “get it”? Well, no, no I didn’t. And I am usually one of those guys that does “get it” and tries to tell others they should as well. Because for even how engaging I find this music, I can’t detach the hipster irony from it enough to thoroughly enjoy it without reservation.

In the end what you have here is a mixed bag: great music from an ironic hipster weirdo. I wouldn’t go to battle if anyone told me this was the most brilliant country album in a long time (though make no mistake, he’s no Outlaw). Nor would I go to battle with someone who asserted it was awful and insulting. So for now, Jonny Corndawg remains an enigma for me. And I have a feeling he would be OK with that, if that wasn’t his plan all along.

1 gun up for excellent music and songs. 1 gun down for excessive hipster irony.

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For folks that care about these type of things, Josh Hedley, who regularly plays violin for Justin Townes Earle appears on this album, as does Caitlin Rose in a backup vocal role.

Buy Down on the Bikini Line directly from Jonny Corndawg

Purchase from Amazon

Listen to complete tracks here:

75 Comments to “Hipster Irony Goes Country with Jonny Corndawg”

  • I have to admit, when I saw the name “Johnny Corndawg” I dismissed it pretty much completely. However, I hear “Shaved like a Razor” quite frequently on Sirius XM radio and find myself liking it. I have not investigated the guy at all, though I have heard Shooter state that, for whatever its worth, they guy (Johnny) knows quite a bit about Country music.

    Personally, I think that we are at a point with Country music where, those who are serious about it at least, should be treating the art form with as much respect as possible. When your stage name is “Johnny Corndawg”, its a little difficult to take it seriously (and therefore conclude that he is treating the music with respect). But, like I said, the single is admittingly easy to like.

    The album cover, style of humor and blue collar themes are all very reminiscent of Mel McDaniels, who I happen to like quite a bit, so I suppose it makes since that I find the song likable.

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    • that album cover kills me,lol.

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      • It’s a watercolor by Minneapolis/San Fran artist Michael Gaughan!

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    • I can’t lie, I like “Shaved (like a razor)”, “Chevy Beretta”, “Red on the Head” and a lot of these songs, and I have no doubt that the guy knows a lot about country because it comes across in his music, and from the outside looking in, seemed to be a brilliant man. But I also can’t lie and say I don’t see a lot of irony that is rooted in either disrespect or dishonesty that keeps me from appreciating the music fully.

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  • Trig you pompous fuck you to are a God damn Hipster. And if any of the things that you said about mr corndog were true then I believe Joshua Hedley wouldn’t be playing the fiddle for him.

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    • Deep and proactive Pablo!

      I’ll take the charge I’m pompous. You’re gonna find the “hipster” charge hard to gain traction though.

      So what did I say about him that wasn’t true? Opinions are just that man. Did you read the whole article? Because you’re saying that “if any” of the things are true, this must include:

      “Corndawg displays himself as a master of his craft, a brilliant artist and a tireless student of his medium who understands timing, tones, and texture.

      the brilliance of the artist inside of him, bursting with creativity no matter where it is expressed

      The dude seems to be like a cultural sponge, soaking up Americana, and not only understanding the modes of how it works, but picking up on the nuances that engage people and make them laugh.”

      And as far as Josh Hedley, love the dude and his work with Justin Townes Earle, but just because he plays fiddle on one song and signs on another doesn’t impart the whole album with interpretable country cred. Josh has been known to wear frames with no lenses in them. That’s pretty hipster itself.

      I am admittedly conflicted about this dude, so why don’t you explain why I shouldn’t be and I can learn from that? Please man, let’s bridge some understanding. I want to like this dude!

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  • Um … I like it . I know it wasn’t your intent Trig , but you’ve given me exposure to a guy I’d have never found on my own , so thanks . The guy’s voice is awful , but it’s sort of Zevon-esque in a way . I’m not gonna rush out and buy the album , but I’m not sorry I heard it either .

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    • “I know it wasn’t your intent Trig , but you’ve given me exposure to a guy I’d have never found on my own.

      No, that was EXACTLY my intent. Look, I’m admittedly conflicted about this guy. Love the music, hate the fact that I can’t get over that he appears to be looking down his nose at certain elements of rural life I appreciate. But if you like him, hell’s yeah I say! If I thought he was a complete waste of time, I would have never talked about him, or strung him up without presenting both sides.

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  • I cant wait for this irony fad to die. Halfway through the article I was ready to kill the first hipster I saw. I dont know what brought this fad on, but I wish it or them a painful death. Can’t we just enjoy things for what they are instead of how ironic we can seem to our friends?

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  • If you take yourself too seriously, nobody else will

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    • You might have hit the nail on the head there Jeb.

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  • Goddamn Tigger! So serious!

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  • Thanks for the write-up! I appreciate you giving it the attention you did! All I’ve ever wanted to do was make the music I wanted to hear (that nobody else would make) and sing it the only way I know – to the best of my ability with my head held high. I have a real urge to defend myself here but hell, who cares anyway? You either get it or you don’t.

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    • Well if you want to defend yourself about anything, please understand it would not be out-of-bounds here or discouraged for you to do so. As I’ve said to other commenters, I do want to “get” this music, and in many ways I already do. I just don’t get it as much as I’d like to, and I am fully willing to admit that it might be just as much me as it is you.

      I will say in my own defense that when writing this review, I was as honest as I could be about my feelings. That is not always the nicest or most political thing for a person to do, but it is what my readers expect, and what I expect from myself. I think the music is excellent, but I’m urked by the presentation. But if this is the true, honest expression of yourself then you’re right, who cares? Unless it’s an opportunity to bridge understanding.

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  • Johnny [Fritz] grew up in Esmont, VA (about 20 minutes south of Charlottesville). He’s been playing music since he was a kid. Is his character a schtick? Sure! But does he have an appreciation for the craft of country music? Heck ya he does! If you ever get the chance to talk to him, he knows the history of country inside and out. When he talks about living in Nashville, it’s clear that he views the city as a living shrine to great song-writing. You’re right that he’s been embraced by the hipster scene, but it’s somewhat reluctantly on his behalf. At the end of the day, “Corndawg” writes songs about the mundane experiences of daily life, which he does with humor and precision. Unlike a lot of faux “outlaws,” he doesn’t pretend to be a badass. The reason it’s so hard to classify him, is because (despite the “act”) he is truly original. If one had to categorize him, I think he’d be somewhere within the realm of Tom T. Hall, Billy Joe Shaver, Porter Wagoner, and as another commenter mentioned a little Warren Zevon.

    I understand your frustration. If hadn’t hung out with the guy, I’d probably feel the same way. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. No drugs. No booze, No Bu_Sh_t. Just music!

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    • I can tell he knows the history of country music inside and out without anyone telling me that simply by listening to his music. I also wanted to mention in the review that if I did meet Jonny personally, I’m sure I would find him very interesting and engaging, but when this review got two paragraphs too long already, it got left out. I also don’t believe in country music litmus tests, though the name of this site and certain other things may lead you to believe I do. It’s great if someone is from the South or West or from a rural area, and this may help built some country street cred, but in the end it has to be about the music.

      One of the problems though is music should never need lots of explanation. Either it speaks to you, or it doesn’t. I spent almost as much time digging around, reading up on Jonny as I did listening to the music, and at some point I had to ask myself if this was fair. What I found I think continued to endear him to me, but I never got all the way. I think part of the problem is that the presentation hurts the music, instead of either helping it (as ideally it would), or being innocuous, or irrelevant. The presentation is what makes explanation necessary when I am usually able to render it superfluous.

      I continue to hope at some point I can bridge the understanding here, because I do see the promise of this music. I just can’t lie about my feelings either.

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      • Fair enough. I can tell you’re giving it a chance and not dismissing it out-of-hand. I understand your point about the presentation, but what’s more offensive to the spirit of country music, Corndawg’s fashionable tribute to John Conlee’s “Rose Colored Glasses” or the “hat acts” in their GQ muscle shirts and excessive hair gel?

        I think country music performers have always played up the stereotypical images of rural America, whether it be overall-wearing bluegrass pickers, cowboy-hat wearing vocalists, or the over-the-top nudie suits of the 1970s and 80s. I think Corndawg is a living tribute to all these different phases of country music. Personally, I don’t find that inauthentic. If presentation matters that much, we’d have to dismiss a lot of great music.

        I won’t try to convince you of Corndawg’s authenticity, but maybe think about the implications of using authenticity and presentation to influence your perception of music. As you’ve said, you like the songs; both lyrically and musically. At the end of the day, isn’t that most important?

        Yes, I saw a link to this from FB, but I read the whole review and checked out your blog. Glad I found it! Thanks for starting a good discussion!

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        • Trust me, I find many of the images that corporate country music presents way more offensive than Jonny Corndawg and have spoke at nausea about it on this very site. And please don’t think that I do not pick up on the lampooning of this in his music. I do get that, it’s just his particular version makes me uneasy, and I have a feeling I am not alone.

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  • seriously dudes, it’s just music first of all, nothin’ to get so huffy puffy about. Johnny’s a true-blooded American artist an’ here ya’ll are hiccupin’ like a buncha half-witted hipster henhouse Henrietta’s, I think we all know where the real bikini line lies here..

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  • lol u mad bro?

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  • 1. is this article supposed to be ironic?

    2. What is more “hipster”? Writing, recording and performing original songs… or writing pretentious reviews of other peoples’ music for an online blog?

    3. Jonny Corndawg isn’t “hipster” obviously. Jonny and Josh are real genuine people making real sincere music and art. They are the best of the best.

    4. Lastly I sincerely hope you get AIDS in the most boring way humanly possibly, and as you are getting AIDS a giant storm hits your home-town, and prohibits you from getting to a medical center in time, and causes you to die a slow and painful death…alone… with no internet connection, and no spiritual connection to anyone or anything.

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  • I just want to say here, usually when I have a slew of angry comments that come in as a block, it is usually because people are interpreting my writing through the filter of a Facebook thread, Twitter feed, email chain, message board, etc. I just want to emphasize that I think people should read the review in full and take into consideration all of what was said, instead of what somebody might have said somewhere else, or what is said in the first half of the review only.

    Also, I’m getting the sense that wherever this traffic is coming from is characterizing it that I have some sort of problem with Josh Hedley, and I bristle at that characterization. As a big supporter of Justin Townes Earle over the years, I have always admired Josh’s work, though I know it goes deeper than just JTE. In 2011 I named the “SCM Live Performance of the Year” Justin Townes Earle at The Parish in Austin, which actually was in late 2010, but was so powerful, I carried it over. Josh was a part of that performance that night along with Bryn Davies, which as I have said many times since then, may have been the best live performance of music I will ever see in my life.

    http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/saving-country-musics-best-live-performances-of-2011

    Here is the specific review of that show, where I said “Josh Hedley did an excellent job on fiddle.”

    http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/justin-townes-earles-redemption-in-austin-tx

    I also remember being disappointed when Josh did not appear with JTE when he was on Letterman.

    Anyways. It’s fine if you want to wizz all over my bit and hope that I get AIDS or whatever. I’m a big boy and I can take it and have heard much worse. But it’s important to me to not be mischaracterized. I stand behind every word of this review as fair and my honest opinions, and I think if you read between the lines you will find an attempt to reach at deeper themes through this review and subsequent comments if you don’t allow them to be filtered through the opinions of others.

    As you were.

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  • I’m glad you enjoy the music. Why, though, are you so worried about whether it is authentic, or whether it is ironic? Does Real Country Music(tm) have rules about poking fun at itself?
    I don’t have a clear idea what a “hipster” is, especially in the context of this article, or why anyone should care whether Jonny is one. Your most damning evidence is the “pentameter and the higher register he sings in” – which is key to the music, which you later on claim to genuinely like. If singing in pentameter, in a high register, is the defining element, then was the Carter Family the first ironic hipster weirdo country group?

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    • I’m worried about whether it is authentic or ironic because I want to understand this man’s music. This is an expression of his creative self that he’s decided to share with the world, and I’m attempting to share with my readers. The unusual nature of the music creates a discussion point hopefully we can learn from, which is only possible if I am honest with my opinions.

      As far as The Carter Family analogy, I think you are off on what I am trying to convey. The way Jonny sings is much closer to let’s say a band like Frontier Ruckus, or Sam Quinn of the Everybodyfields than it is to most anything you will hear in any type of country music from a male singer (and now I’m sure I will be accused of taking shit about them as well by simply mentioning their name). Singing in that higher is something that is very ‘hip” right now. I listen to these bands, have seen these bands live, and appreciate their music. If that is the natural way Jonny sings, hell’s yeah, that’s great. I’m just simply making a point on aesthetics, and I stand behind that.

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  • I never heard of Johnny Corndawg before last week when my graphic artist tried out for his band. I do know he opened for David Allen Coe two weeks back. I do know that Joshua Hedley is a badass musician and one of my personal local favorites.

    Living in Nashville is a trip though. You get a different feel of how musicians live, work, and make a living. I have nothing but respect for damn near all of them.

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  • For fucks sake Trig, for a writer you should have a better grasp of what irony is….this album isn’t it. Also, hipsters that live in glass blogs shouldn’t throw stones.

    Anyways, thanks for the review and all your work on the site. (seriously, not sarcastic, sardonic, or ironic)

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    • I don’t know man, I kind of like to pride myself on being able to pick up and appreciate irony in music, and like I pointed out in the article, I’ve done this with numerous projects over the years. There was just something here that takes me to an uncomfortable place where I feel the nose is looking down at the music. And I will fully admit that this truly might not be the case. But at the same time, that is just the underlying feeling I get and I’d be lying if I said it was not there. And if I’m feeling that, someone who usually understands and appreciates the irony and sarcasm in music, I have a feeling other folks out there will feel the same way.

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      • It’s possible I guess. But the way I see it, you can’t actually make good music while simultaneously looking down at it. Like Tenacious D, those lyrics are a big hunk of cheese, but it wasn’t done to be condescending. They love the kind of music they made, and it shows. You can have fun exaggerating themes without making a mockery of it. Spinal Tap is a good example of music that was meant strictly to be funny, and funny only, no other redeeming quality.

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  • musically very nice. don’t care much for the vocals though. ‘fools and sages’ being my favorite track.

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  • It seems to be coming down to “Corndawg”. If this were an album by Johnny Fritz, I think this would be an entirely different discussion. I can understand some listeners feeling insulted by the corndawg persona but frankly, Justin Moore is worse and he’s dead serious.

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    • Ding ding ding!

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    • Johnny Paycheck’s real name was Donne Lytle. Fake name = hipster?

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      • That’s a great question. Maybe some of us would feel the same way about “Paycheck”, maybe not, but “Corndawg” certainly invites criticism. Tammy Wynette was born, Virginia Wynette Pugh. Would we be bying Virgie Pugh records? Names matter.

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  • I listened to ‘I’m not ready to be a daddy’ and thought it was ok. I think I might have missed out on a lot of the humor. Some of the tunes were pretty good but not good enough to make me run out and buy bikini line. On an unrelated note, trig, I’d love to hear your take on Carter Falco’s ‘jumping the sharks’.

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  • I understand that folks that are fans of Jonny and some that know him personally are going to feel the need to defend him. But at the same time, I think they should have the ability to zoom out and see that a guy named “Jonny Corndawg” with songs that talk about fucking underwater in a Chevy Beretta are going to be misunderstood by some.

    Furthermore it is always unhelpful when unnecessary superlatives and comparisons are made with modern day artists. Lydia Loveless is the next Loretta Lynn. Hayes Carll is the next Townes Van Zandt. Jonny Corndawg is the next David Allan Coe. This seems patently unfair to everyone involved and creates unrealistic expectations. David Allan Coe killed a homosexual in prison and probably has some homophobia that exists in his fan base. Jonny Corndawg sings about his “ex-boyfriend” and refers to his music as “gay”. This is going to cause misunderstanding amongst folks, fair or not. Those misunderstanding don’t have to be appreciated, but to be shocked that they exist I think is not looking big picture.

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  • I wish I could return this shit music back to itunes….every time it comes on I have to hit SKIP……

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  • I have to say that you’re losing me. Even more so by reading your replies to some of the responses to your article (bar the idiotic comments that should be ignored anyway).

    As for Mr. Cordawg, I can’t comment on the outlaw designation because I haven’t seen or read anything to confirm or deny, but the hipster thing…who cares? Nobody seemed to care about the image of country music when all the gutter-punk kids traded in their electric instruments for stand-up bases and washboards and started playing ‘country music’.

    As for the album. There is a definite layer of cheese present, some places thicker than others and the crudeness may offend some and limit its radio playability. Is it breaking new ground or something really extraordinary? No. But, it does have some fairly solid song writing and the music is good. And most important, it is an actual country record.

    So if Mr. Corndawg is really the hipster that Triggerman says he is, than the real irony here is that he, corndawg hipster, has succeeded in making a country record better than 85% of the crap I have heard in the past two years.

    I was originally drawn to the thread because of its name, something that I could relate too. It seems to me that most of the stuff you review it’s even county music, or ‘real’ county music as the case may be. Don’t get me wrong because I like a good portion of it but I just don’t really see how it relates to saving country music. You finally get a record that contains actual country music and it turns into a review about the dudes lifestyle. Come on man, really?

    I’m out

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    • Mike,

      Please give me the opportunity to explain.

      “I can’t comment on the outlaw designation because I haven’t seen or read anything to confirm or deny.”

      This is the article that refers to Jonny Corndawg as an Outlaw. The title is “Jonny Corndawg Shows Us Where Outlaw Country is Going…”

      http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/jonny-corndawg-shows-us-where-outlaw-country-is-going-while-david-allan-coe-reminds-us-where-its-been/Content?oid=2751627

      “Nobody seemed to care about the image of country music when all the gutter-punk kids traded in their electric instruments for stand-up bases and washboards and started playing ‘country music’.”

      I respectfully disagree. I have been calling out this trend for years now, and by being honest about my feelings on the matter, it has caused me to lose a lot of readers. This was my most recent article on this very trend.

      http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/the-parody-created-when-some-punk-bands-go-country

      Also I am curious if you read the second half of the article, which I feel goes in depth speaking about how undeniably great this music is, and specifically how country it is. I like this music, and want to like it more, but I also articulated my concerns with its presentation that I feel are felt by many other country fans.

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  • What’s kind of sad about sad about Hipster-fags (both artists and fans) is they like their circle-jerks.

    Was watching a youtube video of Molly Gene one Whoaman band. She was playing some very good, danceable music and playing her heart out, while some hipster-fags were discreetly observing her.
    Hipsters don’t dance, because dancing is not ironic.

    Anyway, I think you have Corndawg all wrong. He is a very talented Coe impersonator.

    Remember David Allen Coe always wanted to be a hipster, what with his blues/folk recordings, his covers of songs, like Please Come to Boston, (great) and his devotion to various popular causes in the ’70s.

    Unfortunately, since he was the real deal, the ’70s hipsters never really dug him.

    David Allen Coe, if you watch the documentary, Heartworn Highways, never actually says he killed the guy who was trying to rape him.
    But he infers it. The point is, in the ’70s it was cool talk to about killing fags in country music. Today, it’s cool to talk about being a fag, in country music.

    Until the hipster-alt types actually try to connect with ordinary people they will never replace the faux-poseurs like Justin Moore and Eric Church.

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  • Trig: I “get” your review. I agree 100%. You keep doing what you do.

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  • Music pretty good, voice…not so much !

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  • Here’s a good interview. Around 6:55 he addresses the absurdity of “Corndawg” as a name and how he’d just assume be known as Jonny Fritz. It might help you “get” him more as a person…

    http://youtu.be/S4UhTHuw2i8

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  • This comment was found to be made by an impersonator, more info here: http://www.forum.savingcountrymusic.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1593 you should just shut down this site your writing has gone to shit ,your schtick for corporate nashville is really getting old. If someone disagrees with you you act like a little kid. corndog is more country than you any day of the week. can you even play a god damn instrument? you was a good guy in your myspace days but now your a prima donna. id rather drink with mike curb than you at least hes not a pussy . who gives a fuck if someone is a hipster as long as they support the cause then thats what counts.so go ahead and quote me and ask why this why that like a god damn toddler. you was once a great writer / blogger but now your just a tabloid hack

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    • Well I’m sorry you feel that way Mr. Bandana, but I stand behind my opinions in this article 100%, as well as all my others actions, despite admittedly making mistakes upon occasion.

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    • Bandana, obviously YOU give a fuck about supporting “the cause”. You’re compelled to post your thoughts in the forum that Triggerman has provided for you. You don’t have to agree, or like it. Triggerman leaves himself open to all this criticism in order to create a discussion. “Who gives a fuck if someone is a hipster”? Obviously a lot of people.

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  • Ironic? When I was younger, going fishing every day, feeding cows, riding horses, milking goats, driving tractors, putting up hay, showing animals at the county fair, among other true country qualifiers, I never would have thought I’d be reading an internet blog called Saving Country Music. I didn’t care about country music, I was listening to Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, etc. So why, as I’m typing from my suburban cookie-cutter house, is it important to ‘defend country?

    I want my kids to know where they came from. They have a family with ways of life, traditions and, roots. It sucks to have to raise them in a world where the influence of corporate image and advertising has overtaken reality. It’s often hard to differentiate religion, spirituality, fairy tales, truth, lies and manipulations. The corporate influence runs deep. Even my grandparents seem unaware that “Santa Clause”, the jolly fat guy in the red suit, is a Coca-Cola ad.

    I don’t know what to do about this other than be aware of and question it. We’re dancing on a very fine line when Johnny Paycheck is noted as potential Hall of Fame inductee and Jonny Corndawg is a suspected Hipster. Is Cordawg making fun of us? Was “The Dukes of Hazzard” making fun of us? Hee-Haw? What about the Grand Ole OPRY? Are we laughing WITH us or AT us?

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    • ^^^ This!

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    • sorry, “Santa Clause” was the title of a movie. Talkin’ ’bout Santa Claus.

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  • I saw him live in Canada and it was horrible but of course the place was packed with tons of hipsters front to back. The songs were goddamn stupid thats all I can say. The guys an asshole anyways but thats another story. And that was my first experience with his music and will be the last. Fuck what a terrible show.

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  • If I hear the word hipster one more goddamn time I am going to puke. I don’t even understand what that means. Quit worrying about what someone else wears, listens to, or looks like.

    A public announcement to anyone and no one.

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    • I wasn’t sure what a hipster was to be completely honest. I mean, I see people and say, “oh, they’re just hipsters”, but to define it I had to go to Wikipedia… and discovered something disturbing…

      I may be a hipster…or at least my own version of it… Not that I’m young, or care about 90s rock… but this definition kinda hit home:

      <>

      I’m a melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior. I don’t like to be pigeon-holed into one category or one sub-culture. I’m at home in a variety of settings, and like a variety of music, cultures, etc.

      But I do prefer authenticity. Don’t like pretenders or fakes. Maybe the irony of it all is what saves me from being a true hipster.

      In any event, I’d never heard of Corndawg. I’ll give it a listen. If I like it, I’ll pursue it some more. If not, I’ll move on. Thanks to Trig for at least exposing me to it, so I can decide for myself whether I like it or not.

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  • A couple of things. You and your site has turned into the WWE of underground country music. I have seen you blame this on XXX time and time again but you have created it with your articales.

    I found this site cause I like hank3, 357, gallows…ext. I love the hard edge style sound and lyrics. If other bands come out and copy that you know what I don’t care if I like the sound style and lyrics I’m cool with how ever they got there.

    Hipsters? So? Redneck? So? Punks? So? Bikers? So? Preps? so? Who cares as long as your not fake and like it cause u like it, who cares?

    What I’m trying to say this site and you have changed. What brought me here, you put down. If the lyrics don’t make you want to stare out of a window on a rainy day and think about life and cry, you put them down.

    For whatever reason you choose this and now your just Vince Mcmahon with less entertainment and less talent.WWE

    No I will not stop coming here, you entertain me with your made up controversy to make yourself feel relevant and get people talking about you. The only people I feel sorry for are they people that get mad and worked up over what you write and say. Cause as just an outsider and fan of the music, its painfully obvious your reaching weekend and week out to stay relevant.

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    • Look, I told myself I was not going to comment on this article any more, because as some have pointed out, it may be making things worse. What I do want to say though is even when I might disagree with someone’s comment, I always listen to the criticism handed to me, and take it to heart.

      Specific to the criticism you laid out here, what I would say in defense of myself is that I am trying to cover a wide swath of music that is uncovered by the normal media. And so yes, sometimes this means I have to cover sappy stuff right next to hard edged stuff. Another thing I try to do on this site is bridge differences and attempt to open people’s music minds to new things.

      Specific to this point of the hard edged stuff, I do not have a problem with it. I still remain a huge fan of The Gallows, Hank3, and a lot of hard music. I personally think that the parody that has cropped up recently is a problem, but that is my opinion, and that’s all it is. But that opinion is shared by many. Just in this very comment thread, Mike above said:

      “Nobody seemed to care about the image of country music when all the gutter-punk kids traded in their electric instruments for stand-up bases and washboards and started playing ‘country music’.”

      Because even though you and many others are concerned that I’ve strayed from the roots of SCM by not covering hard music, there are many others, if not a majority that think that is all I do, and specifically, that is why I gave Jonny Corndawg a negative review (when it was actually mixed, and very complimentary of the music).

      What this does is make it very difficult to know what to do with the feedback you are giving me, because it is the exact opposite to the feedback I’m getting from others. It’s also difficult because when I look at for example, who won my album of the year in 2011, I see a hard album. I’ve only reviewed 2 albums that have been released in 2012 so far, and one was Restavrant which is hard as it gets. It’s punk music with steel guitar.

      And as far as the WWE thing, I can completely understand how people can get that vibe, though I think a lot of that comes from what transpires in the comments sections, instead of what happens in the articles themselves. I sincerely did not expect this article to get out of hand, but in hindsight, I blame myself for putting all the negative stuff first, and all the positive stuff second, because many folks didn’t give the article a chance to articulate my true feelings on the man’s music.

      And unfortunately, I write a TON of boring articles that very few people read, but it is ones like these that draw a crowd because many people see SCM through the filter of Facebook, and then they typecast SCM as only being about that. The MAJORITY on the articles on SCM are 100% positive. Should I work on being more positive? Sure, but sometimes the news cycle dictates something different.

      But in the end, I don’t just want to explain all of your concerns away because I think a lot of them have merit. But at the same time, I think folks need to understand I’m only one person trying to cover a large swath of musical interests. I do the best I can. I will try to do better. And I always appreciate feedback.

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  • Amen,
    The song Chevy Beretta was written about some girls I know in Indiana. I’m not gay. I’m writing from the point of view of a girl. The “70′s gay Bear Family… Housewives box set…” was a reference to Peter Grudzien.
    I’ve always disliked my name but you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to drop a stupid name like this. I’ve tried several times but at the end of the day, it’s just too much trouble and too much focus goes into an area I’d rather not give attention to. I’d rather focus on making music I want to make. I’ve been doing this for 9 years and I can assure you that it’s not for attention. I love country music with all my heart. It’s the only music I know and I always just write about where I came from and the people I grew up with.
    Roger miller grew up on Red Foley but Foley despised Miller. Go figure.

    How do you feel about: Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Paycheck, Nina Simone, Blaze Foley, Lorrie Morgan, Randy Travis and all of their fake ass names?

    You mentioned something about how I should use a kickstarter to pay for a recording but only to release a record. Why? What if I can’t afford to record a record but I have a specific idea of how I want it recorded? What then? What happens when you get a record label involved before you record is they want to come to the studio and put their 2 cents in, during the creative process. No thanks. I started a kickstarter to raise money to keep non creative people out of the creative process. Why judge me when you have a donation button on your page?
    What the hell does your record sound like?
    I’ve got to get back to making the music I love. Now, you get back to tearing it a new one in the name of “saving country music.”

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    • If he wrote about that he would not get the reaction he is looking for and needs. Just like the bad guy in wrestling puts down the state of the crowd that he is in that night. Same concept. I have seen a lot of lower level sports writers do the same thing. It’s there way to make waves.

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    • I’ll make it easier for you, what do I feel about nicknames when I work under a cornpone nickname myself, “The Triggerman?”

      The donate button is a community resource used to raise money when for example artists have their gear stolen, or need help with a medical procedure, etc. It has been used in this context to help artists like Ruby Jane, Rosie Flores, Banjer Dan, etc. If it offends you and others, I will consider taking in down and reposting it when it is more germane. I can count on one hand the amount of direct donations I have received in 4 years.

      And please don’t take the Kickstarter comment personally, I hate Kickstarter virtually any time it is used, except for instances when altruistic aims are involved.

      “What the hell does your record sound like?”

      Are you assuming that I’m not an artist myself? Would it be ethical if I was an artist to use a journalistic or opinion-based platform to self-promote? May that be the whole reason I use a pseudonym to write under?

      And as far as me “tearing a new one” to country music through this platform, I would really invite you to zoom out and poke around the site and read some of the other articles, the vast majority of which are very positive and attempt to be proactive to preserving the roots of country music. What is frustrating about this comment is I really felt that through this situation and your initial comment we could have made a connection, because I really believe you’re a good guy that is just being misunderstood, by me and others, and that we have very similar feelings on country music, but it appears that the folks who have a bone to pick with me have gotten to you (along with Josh Hedley, who I’m still wondering how I insulted) through a different social forum and have brought that ill will here.

      Either way, I am still going to work to understand your music, and promote it where I think it is relevant to do so.

      All the best.

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  • Corndawg is the shit. Cool fucking dude writing awesome fucking songs. To tighten your rectum squeezing out any more verbal doodoo on the matter is a waste of good feces.

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  • WOW!!. As a frequent Reader here at SCM, I am very dissapointed in this article. It’s basically bullshit. If you like it, and it’s good country then why the F*ck did you spend the first half of the article bashing him??? Dont you think a review of the actual music should come first???? Especially on a website like this?? Dont get me wrong, I can’t stand the whole hipster thing, I think its dumb shit, but listening to a couple of tracks i find the musicianship great!!! It’s real country. People need to realize that it’s not ’52 anymore and thats that. If I hear something that sounds good and pays respects to country roots and traditions in a good way, I usually don’t give a shit what someones name is or what they look like. Obviously if this guy was a real “hipster” (love those labels) he wouldnt be playing country. I’m so sick and tired of people trying to claim they are the only ones allowed to show off their country badge or their outlaw trophy. And it just goes to show the status quo of people who pay more attention to what some one looks or acts like as opposed to what they are doing on a stage or a CD. In case you don’t know, thats the problem with all these nashville assholes in the first place. If you ask me the thing that needs the most saving is some of the articles on here.!!!!!. I don’t think this guy is making fun. Country musicians are a dying breed and most people don’t give a shit about country music enough to make fun of it. So maybe it’s a little pretentios to get offended

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  • Well, Johnny Corndawg is a Virginia native. Its not as if he’s from New York city or something. Also, Ironically or not, many hipsters genuinely like real Country music. I know quite a few hipsters that dig Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, and of course- Johnny Cash. And because they actually think the music is good. So don’t be bashing all the hipsters. Hipster is as Hipster does. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a Countrified Hipster!

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  • Yeah, quit bashing on “hipsters”. We should all bash blog writers. Don’t ya just hate writers. They fuck everything up. Ya know what else pisses me off? Irony.

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  • Look people are paying attention to you again! woo. Let’s get another article about XXX or Josh! Than the hits will come even more.

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  • JONNY CORNDAWG IS AMAZING. ONE OF MY CREATIVE HEROS AND ALL AROUND BADASS. IF YOU DON’T GET IT, DON’T LISTEN TO IT AND WRITE AWISHY WASHY REVIEW.

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  • Hipster punx UNITE!!.

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  • But really,how the hell can anyone take this Jonny Cornhole shit seriously? I watched him on youtube,got a couple of chuckles,the end.I wouldn’t spend a penny on this shit.

    And to the hipsters who responded,thanks for reminding me why I hate hipsters

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  • Man, I disagree with you a lot, but I will ALWAYS appreciate your opinions and the time you take to think it through and write it out. As for this record, well, you pretty well summed up my thoughts….but I’m still listening to the damn thing. I can’t shake it. This guy has something.

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  • So the author and all but one or two respondents agree that the music and lyrics are good (and “country”). Shouldn’t that be the end of it? Has this really come down to a discussion about cultural identity, authenticity, and popular representation? Geez, talk about hipster! Sounds like a conversation among the “take-your-iMac-down-to-the-local-coffee-shop-and-pontificate-loudly-about-micro-loans-to-battered-African-women-to-get-laid-by-anthropogy-majoring-college-girls-looking-to-rebel-against-their-Judea-Christian-upbringing hipster” crowd.

    No offense, Triggerman, just making a joke (and b/c I just loved that depiction!). I think you’ve been fair and honest in your opinion(s) and efforts to understand this album. Glad this discussion led me to your sight. I hope your ultimately able to “get” the awesomeness of Bikini Line!

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  • I will be seeing him live at a small festival next month. never heard any of his songs before but now i am intrigued. i will give him a chance with an open mind and come back and give my own opinion! old 280 boogie, cant wait

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  • **correction** he’s not @ the 280 boogie. just plays that same venue the day before. i will still check it out

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  • jonny’s country. the music he’s playing these days is mostly country. its not like he’s going to get an award for being more ‘country’ than not, anyway. as a person he’s interesting, and his music is better than average. kinda reminds me of southern culture on the skids. much better live, but on wax not too shabby, especially now that he has a great player or two on his recordings. esmont is no joke and there’s not alot going on out there except country topography & country attitudes. i really just got a player-hater vibe from this article. its like calling someone a communist back in the day because they were liberal. i’ll never know whether mr. fritz is insincere or not, or whether he’s a ‘hipster’ or not. you won’t either & its reductive to try and figure it out. its about whether you like the music, and judging by the article you do. its too bad you’re letting the window dressing get in the way of your enjoyment and leading the review with that. because you like the music. forget the rest. just admit you like it and get over your insecurity about how the man presents himself. separate the auteur from the artist or something like that. much respect to you for taking the time to review; much respect to you for your opinion. glad we both like the music.

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  • Getting past the hipster irony he seems to take a fair bit of influence from John Prine or at least that’s what I get the feel of

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  • Meade Skelton is a wonderful Country singer in his own right! Check him out!

    http://www.meadeskeltonsplace.com

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