Ke$ha Will Be A Force In Country Music (& work w/ Hellbound Glory?)

July 31, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  70 Comments

Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory just finished up a big 6-week tour, and behind them they left a trail of rumors that a future album might have a contribution from electro pop star Ke$ha. Apparently the band met Ke$ha just after coming off another tour and hanging out at their favorite Reno bar called The Hideout the same night Ke$ha was in town playing a show. It still seems somewhat uncertain if the collaboration will actually happen, and if it does, it probably wouldn’t be a full blown duet with Hellbound Glory frontman Leroy Virgil, more just a female backing vocal track.

But all of this Ke$ha talk rekindled a fascination I had with the pop star and her country aspirations about two years ago. Certainly in my world, the meteoric rise of a pop star will not light a blip on my radar…until the rumors of them wanting to “Go Country” forces me into duty, sniffing around on celeb-pop websites like a ravaged beagle in an overturned trash can, squinting my eyes at glittertext, wading through pop-up ads for pimple creme and Southern California-based reality shows to try and substantiate the “Gone Country” claims.

Ke$ha told Papermag in July of 2010:

“I’m really inspired by country music–my mom wrote country music–and I love Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash. I think at some point there might be some country collaborations or records in the future.”

Earlier in 2010 she told popeater.com:

I think people should know the classics — Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, also Townes Van Zandt, I’m a huge fan of him. [Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline is] one of my favorite albums of all time, because I grew up in Nashville, and so everything about that record is really special to me. When you listen to that record, especially on vinyl, and you’re either falling in love or waking up after a long night and you’re with all your friends, it just brings up a lot of nostalgia.

Pop stars positioning themselves for a country move by claiming they’ve always been into the music is nothing new. The difference with Ke$ha though is her references to her country roots and influences are actually true. Two years ago I wrote a whole article about how Ke$ha could become a huge force in country music but never published it, probably worried it would be misunderstood. Though on a later post about Lady Ga-Ga “going country” I claimed, “the pop star you really need to worry about going country, is Ke$ha. Mark my words.” And later in the comments explained why, how Ke$ha’s past was rooted in country.

Pebe Sebert

Ke$ha’s mom is a country songwriter by the name of Pebe Sebert. Her song of note is Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle To You), which became a hit for Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash. Pebe Sebert did not start off in country though. She was a singer in a punk band, and then wrote the hit song “as a joke” according to Kesha in an interview with Ryan Seacrest. Pebe moved from LA to Nashville in 1991 after signing a songwriting contract when Ke$ha was still very young.

Ke$ha grew up in a songwriting environment, surrounded by music, and was taught how to play and sing at an early age. The story goes that as a baby, Pebe would put Ke$ha in a guitar case on stage while she performed. As Ke$ha grew, they would write songs together. A young Ke$ha and mom Pebe appeared in an episode of the TV show “The Simple Life.” Through the dumb reality TV plot, you can get a good reading of what kind of person Pebe is. Ke$ha was a good student and scored “near perfect” SAT numbers before dropping out of high school to pursue music in LA.

Ke$ha got involved with high rollers in the LA music scene, the whole time she was writing her own songs, citing Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, and classic country as big influences. Ke$ha is a strong singer, has appeared on a number of pop and hip-hop albums singing backups and harmonies, and has written songs for other pop stars including Brittney Spears and Miley Cyrus.

However when her debut album Animal came out, it was described by critics as the most predictable, un-apologetically pop-oriented ultra-catchy album put out in years. Of course, the spoon fed public ate it up. The debut song Tik Tok was a #1 hit in 11 different countries, and became the longest running number one debut single by a female artist since 1977. When questioned about critics, Ke$ha bristles, citing how she writes all of her songs, and is just “having fun” right now.

Even during Ke$ha’s mega success and worldwide tours, she’s still collaborated with other artists. It was her contribution of backing vocals on rapper Flor-ida’s hit “Right Round” that put her in the pop spotlight to begin with, though she didn’t get paid a dime for the contribution. That is when she adopted the “$” in her name, to be ironic, because even though she was well-known, she was living out of the back of a Lincoln Town Car in LA.

Since then she’s established a trashy persona that celebrates bad tattoos, mullets, Tran-Am’s, and reckless behavior. Though on the outside Ke$has seems sincerely pop, some have given her credit for mocking the system with her songs and persona, an anti-pop star so to speak. She publicly distances from the Paris Hilton party scene, and very well may be playing the pop world from the inside, writing stupid, catchy songs to prove a point while cashing in financially. If there was ever a Trojan Horse of the pop world, Ke$ha would make a good candidate.

The question isn’t if Ke$ha will go country, only when. But it won’t be on her next album due out later this year, self-described as guitar-driven “cock rock” that “capture(s) some of the true essence of what rock and roll is, and that’s just irreverence and sexiness and fun and not giving a fuck.” Hellbound Glory would be Ke$ha’s first country contribution, but you can bet it wouldn’t be her last.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ke$ha will be a force in country music.

70 Comments to “Ke$ha Will Be A Force In Country Music (& work w/ Hellbound Glory?)”

  • I just threw up a little.

  • Strangely enough, I kinda of agree with you.

    My girlfriend likes Ke$ha’s music simply because it’s mindless pop drivel, and she and I believe it’s all an act. There’s always been something just a little TOO ironic about Ke$ha’s music to make me believe she’s taking herself seriously. I’ve heard her make references to country icons and country influences before, and the girlfriend pointed out to me her “Simple Life” episode which kind of reinforced the idea that everything she does on stage/in song is an act. She’s the ultimate “troll” of pop music, which I have to applaud her for.

    If she uses her mindless pop drivel to make money, pay the bills, and get enough attention to make the kind of music she actually WANTS to make — I’m all for it. Good for her for exploiting a genre that rewards fakes and phonies by being just that, and cashing in.

  • i think you are right, on many counts… the one thing that shines in her favor is her lack of “take me serious” b.s… she’s having fun, & getting paid… can’t really argue with that, as long as she’s not pretending that what she’s doing is “high art.”..

    her reading of Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” for that Amnesty International album was respectful, and damn near genius… the girl has talent, and if she decides to use it in a truly authentic way at some point in the future i bet she enjoys more than just modest success… after all, she’s already learned the workings of “the industry” to some degree, with great success… combine that kind of knowledge with decent talent (and being easy on the eyes never hurts) & the sky’s the limit…

    • Her cover of Don’t Think Twice was the first thing that came to mind when i saw that headline. I found it on youtube while browsing around. Besides tiktok it’s the only thing I’ve heard from her, and talk about polar opposites. One is inspired and honest and emotional and the other is inspired by greed and devoid of any depth. But at least you know she can do it when she tries.

  • this is a terrible idea! What is going on here??? first Hellbound Glory latch onto kid rock now another pop star. She is just awful? talk about ruining it

  • I actually enjoy Kesha’s music but for the life of me i couldn’t tell you why. Her more serious songs are surprisingly well written but if you’re not into that kind of music you wont enjoy them. But i still hate it when any one “goes country”. I hope she sticks with collaborations and maybe some country influenced tunes but i know a full blown country album would be terrible

  • This article feels like a pre-emptive strike against the backlash that is sure to come in regards to the last article about a duet you wrote. Instead of a hack job this time around though it seems like this one was written with some references, some research, and above all else……. some reverence. Go Figure

    • Remember, he is unbias in his views.
      Wonder how deep the research would have went if Kesha had met Jamey Johnson in a bar???

  • They both make Horrible music, but I’ll bet Ke$ha can handle her drugs alittle better than them HBG P*ssies!

  • I hope she is the next pop country star.Can you imagine what these awful CMA or ACM or any of the 20 other country awards shows would be with this girl? I can see it now.She’ll be drunk,puking on Rascal Flatts,humping Reba’s leg,flipping off Luke Bryan and probably even piss on the stage.It would be gold I tell ya,and excatly what today’s Trashville deserves!

  • I hate listening to her music, and I don’t understand what role she could have involved with country music even if she was influenced by it.

  • i wish she was still in that guitar case…with it closed and latched. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about this coming to fruition.

  • I heard she was going to a duet with Shooter too.

  • I have the weirdest boner right now. This is kinda awesome and disturbing at the same time.

  • Many from the indie rock crowd were whinin and bitchin when news that she was collaborating with Wayne Coyne came out a couple months ago. Seemed like a good match to me…..


  • Kesha’s music is good in its own way, having the skill to write a melody that sticks in everyone’s head is something. I have no problems with musicians experimenting in any form of art that inspires them

  • as much as i loathe the lyrics to tik tok i have to say that is a catchy pop song. i just hope she takes the lyrics a little more seriously if she does make some country records.

  • Her cover of The Stones’ “Dead Flowers” is pretty good too. That’s probably their most country song; I had no idea she could sing until I heard that.

    • yeah i just listened to that on youtube after reading this article. i really know nothing about her, so i have no personal bias. but anyone who wants to completely dismiss her ‘going country’ should at least give that a listen first.

  • As a father of 2 young daughter’s i must say: Ke$ha’s job is to sell liquor, drugs, and porn to children. i’ll hear nothing about “mindless” pop. Someone out there is very mindful of Ke$ha’s lyrics, image, and market. Of course she’s going to go country.

  • I have a Trans Am and i am highly offended by this article

  • Wait so this isnt a joke???

  • I’m just hesitant of anyone who feels the need to include a dollar $ign in the spelling of their name.

  • to my knowledge i’ve never heard any of her music. i’ll reserve any other comments until she actually does go country. or crazier. though the thought of maybe running into her in some basque bar in elko, nv is intriguing.

  • We see what Nashville thinks of American culture. We see how they twist it against us. In this video from the Today Show, you’ll see the elementary school kids singing these lyrics. This is why Ke$ha will go country:


    There’s a place downtown,
    Where the freaks all come around.
    It’s a hole in the wall.
    It’s a dirty free for all.

    When the dark
    Of the night comes around.
    That’s the time,
    That the animal comes alive.
    Looking for
    Something wild.

    And now we lookin’ like pimps
    In my gold Trans-Am.
    Got a water bottle full of whiskey
    In my handbag.
    Got my drunk text on
    I’ll regret it in the mornin’
    But tonight
    I don’t give a
    I don’t give a
    I don’t give a

    There’s a place downtown,
    Where the freaks all come around.
    It’s a hole in the wall.
    It’s a dirty free for all.

    And they turn me on.
    When they Take It Off.
    When they Take It Off.
    Everybody Take It Off.

    There’s a place I know
    If you’re looking for a show.
    Where they go hardcore
    And there’s glitter on the floor.

    And they turn me on.
    When they Take It Off.
    When they Take It Off.
    Everybody Take It Off.

    Lose your mind.
    Lose it now.
    Lose your clothes
    In the crowd.
    We’re delirious.
    Tear it down
    ‘Til the sun comes back around.

    N-now we’re getting so smashed.
    Knocking over trash cans.
    Eurbody breakin’ bottles
    It’s a filthy hot mess.
    Gonna get faded
    I’m not the designated
    Driver so
    I don’t give a
    I don’t give a
    I don’t give a

    EVERYBODY TAKE IT OFF….. blah blah blah

    • Can you post the lyrics to Bob Wayne’s “Fuck the Law”?

      • I will when I find a mainstream marketing machine selling the song to 8 yr olds.

        • You’re right it is the machine.
          Did you google all the sites of people whinning that marketing is out of control when this is aimed at teenagers (I guess you think even younger).

          Where exactly are the parents in the mix here?

          Kesha is like 25. She isn’t a teenager signing to teenagers. But it is always the machines fault.

          • Obviously the parents are in the video singing along. As far as who’s fault it is, you can draw your own conclusion. I said what I said and ONLY what I said. The rest is on you.

            As a parent, I take responsibility by 1) attempting to keep this stuff out of my daughter’s brains until they are at least old enough to know what’s wrong with it 2) pointing it out when I have a forum.

    • My god! What are they doing? Promoting soft core porn to little kids (again)? Bout made me sick seeing little kids singing along with the trash.

      I could go very political here but it’s a music site so I’ll save most of it. Just know that dumbing down and destroying the youth is a part of the effort to destroy our culture, which will lead us right off the damn cliff.

      Save your own kids and grand kids!

    • Where are the elementary school kids in the video?

      • Didn’t mention elementary kids, there is a close up of a young girl singing and scan the crowd……to each there own. I stopped watching network tv long ago and most of cable. Garbage in garbage out I guess. Just stating my opinion, many years of social work observing what parents did, said and showed their kids came out in the long run. Many in jail, many repeating parents’ way of life in the sewer.

        • How is this video promoting any type of criminal behavior? I despise this song, but I don’t see how it glorifies any type of violence or theft.

          • I did not specifically say that those lyrics or skanky dance promote crime. People fail to see the big picture.

      • I’m with you. where are all these “little kids” and “children” and “8yr. olds” that are supposed to be the target for Kesha.

        I see maybe 15-16 yr. olds. I listened to SnoopDogg when I was 16. Is Kesha worse than a guy that was touting guns, ho’s, dope and killing cops?

        Weren’t people saying the same thing about Rock and Roll in the ’50’s?

        Music doesn’t ruin anyone. NO ONE. It is a myth. An easy excuse. Maybe some wingnut goes off and claims he heard some voices in a song one out of decade, but music, has never and will never ruin culture or society. There is a far larger majority that doesn’t listen to this than listen to it and take it to heart.

        Kesha is influencing our youth like Boy George did, and we are not all gay, drag queens that strung our life out on heroin.

        • The first question you asked is “where are the parents?”. My answer is, Right Here. Currently, my day job is to sing in a restaurant from noon-4pm. If your 16 year old daughter was there and I sang about a “a dirty free for all”, and told her to “take it off” would that be OK with you?

          In a few decades, we’ve gone from Elvis being banned from the Ed Sullivan Show for shaking his hips, to Ke$ha being invited to The Today Show to sing about a drunken orgy. I am however, relieved to know that music doesn’t affect culture.

          • So it is on Kesha, on her marketing team, that they should be more mindful of the audience coming to see her?
            Last I checked the Today show isn’t a children’s show. Sure children attend, but if that is a problem, where are those children’s parents??? Did your kid watch the Today show when Kesha was on? If not, then great, you did what you wanted to do as a parent. Don’t try and censor the freedom of the artist because some kids might see it.
            True, if she was pumping this tune out on some Sesame St. episode or in the Disneyland parade, maybe some conversation should be had.

            See you might be assuming that the parents of the kids at a Kesha show don’t know what is going on, what she is singing about or what there kid is doing. You are almost making the decision for them what their kid can listen to by insinuating that the marketing team for Kesha shouldn’t be pushing her on kids.

            Perhaps these parents know exaclty what Kesha sings, have a relationship with their kids that they believe their kids can handle what they hear, and if their kids do make some bad decision (which kids are want to do) the parent knows it isn’t solely because the music made them do it.

            Same to the comments on here “they are selling porno to our kids”. Are they? Or are they just selling music and entertainment that you don’t want YOUR kids to see? That is fine, but don’t decide what you think all kids should see. This type of stuff is an easy call, yea, no 8 yr. old should be acting out Kesha. But what is the next thing you don’t think an 8yr. old should be doing?

          • Ke$ha’s right to go on TV and sing about an orgy does not outweigh my right to use whatever forum I have to tell other people how to raise their kids. If that is “trying to censor” Ke$ha, then Ke$ha is trying to introduce (if “sell” is too much to handle) liquor, drugs, and porn to my kids.

      • Watch the video. Most are teenage or older but there are kids singing along that can’t be older than 10 or 11. Look at the girl at 5:54 singing “go hardcore”. That’s a CHILD on morning television singing about an orgy.

        If the lyrics of this song were acted out visually, it would be illegal for anyone under 18 to see it. If a shady man in an alley wearing a trench coat told a 14 year old girl about a “dirty free for all” where “they go hardcore”, would people accept it?

        • Is the measure of acceptance than the exposure level? Would we accept lyrics acted out by some artists supported here?

          This is not new. This wouldn’t even be on your radar if this blog wasn’t up and there was the HBG connection. Should we act out some of HBG’s lyrics? And don’t say they aren’t marketed to kids. Kesha is not either. She is a 25 yr. old woman, and if soem 16yr. olds like her, well, hasn’t music been driven by teenagers since 1950?

          This is nothing new. It is just Kesha and HBG connection and all of a sudden the moral police are here.

          • Let me just say, and I’ve said this from the very beginning of this site, I will NEVER blame folks for either being offended by racy lyrics or content, or for not wanting their children to be exposed to it. If someone says they don’t like Hank3, Shooter (see “Fuck You (I’m Famous), Bob Wayne or Ke$ha because of the lyrical content, I think that is a viable and legitimate argument that we may not all agree with ,but we have moral obligation to understand and wholeheartedly accept.

            At the same time, one of the points I made in this article, and one that has been made about Ke$ha over the years is that she is dirty to be ironic, to shine a spotlight on how stupid it all is. Is that true or not? I don’t know, but it certainly is a common theory. But even if it’s wholeheartedly true, try to explain irony to a 9-year-old. There’s still a reason to keep some music separated and labeled so people can make their own decisions about what their children or themselves are exposed to.

          • Believe me, Ke$ha was on my radar before this. The HBG connection has almost nothing to do with it for me. Yes, it has everything to do with exposure, more so than content. You’re right about that. I don’t care if someone has a penis but if you show it to my kids, it becomes a problem. I have albums that I wouldn’t play for my kids. I used to hide the same albums from my parents too. The “moral police” show up on SCM because that’s where intelligent and reasonable conversations happen.

        • It’s not illegal for anyone to SEE anything. This is America, not an authoritarian nation.

          • Check the law. It’s not a matter of opinion.

          • Indecent exposure may be against the law, punishable by fine. However, SEEING other people exposing themselves is not illegal.

          • It is illegal to sell or provide pornographic material to minors. You may be technically correct in that a minor can’t be prosecuted for viewing such material. Congratulations.

          • Does everyone see how things get so spun out of control/context so fast.

            Now Kesha has a penis and is showing it to 9yr. olds. Holy shit!

            She is 25. She sings about drinking and drugging. She is 25. She isn’t naked on stage. She isn’t fucking someone on stage, shooting a needle, or slamming a bud.

            I agree with Triggerman that she does it in an ironic format.

            If your kid gets wind of it….well, then be a parent. Yea, maybe you can’t explain irony to the kid, but is the music they hear really the biggest concern in your relationship with them?

          • “Does everyone see how things get so spun out of control/context so fast.”

            No. Just the ebb and flow of a conversation.

          • This thread has run its course. Any more posts on this specific topic will be deleted.

    • I did not see a single child in that crowd mostly women 20 plus

      the songs isn’t directed towards children … besides if you don’t want your kids listening to it don’t let them simple as that if this song was on seaseme street it would be differnt

  • country music is nothing more than the minor leauges for pop. any artist that cant sell in pop goes country. (kid rock, jewel,cheryl crow, lionel richie, uncle kracker, aaron lewis, ect.). and underground is full of punk bands.

    • Umm- Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Lionel Richie did just fine selling rock, pop, R&B. They didn’t NEED to go country. SCM may argue they were forced by the blinding of generes, but is it possible. Just a bit, that maybe these artists have some level of love/respect/knowledge and connections with country music?

      I don’t care for Uncle Kracker, he is the real no talent that gets confused with Kid Rock. Aaron Lewis??? hardly worth typing out his name.

  • I can dig it. Let’s see how it goes, huh? I sure as hell would love to make friends with another young chick that digs TVZ. Can’t criticize her for making money, I say.

  • She’s at least a bit easier on the eye than Bucky Covington.

  • Isn’t the goal here to get exposure for good/quality bands?
    Maybe Kesha has a geniune appreciation for Hellbound and vice versa. No one here has any clue what they have talked about or connected with.

    If Kesha is coming from a true place, and I believe she is given her upbringing (and what I know is not just based on this blog) she appreciates true music.

    The music she makes???? She is 25 yr. old woman having fun. Is she what you want your daughter to be???? I don’t know ask her mom. We see Kesha on stage for what, 2min. at most in some youtube clip, some interview, whatever…. and we are ready to pass her off as a slut selling porn and drugs to our kids? Jesus, be a parent and have some faith in your parental skils and trust in your kids. She is a singer that sings a tune you can bob your head to and news flash, she sings about drinking and stripping and drugs. Not new topics.

    I hope the relationship that HGB has formed with Kid Rock and Kesha gives them all more exposure.
    First Trigger is ripping people for how they sing, then what they sing, then who they sing with, then who they tour with, now who they are friends with. What is next? How about giving the artist a little FREEDOM Trigger. Isn’t that what you are about?

    • Nobody is ripping anybody in this article. Though I will say, on the surface I would rather see Hellbound Glory collaborate with Ke$ha way before Kid Rock, Shooter Jennings, and certainly Bucky Covington. But in the end, it is unfair to do anything but judge the collaborations on a case by case basis. It wasn’t just because Shooter was working with Bucky that I had a problem with that collaboration, it was the song and the context. And it wasn’t just because Shooter collaborated with a pop star, as some have alluded. I may hate the Hellbound/Ke$ha collaboration, I may love it. I have no context at the moment, so going beyond reporting that it MIGHT happen is unfair. I’m just giving background info.

      • You don’t get to get off that easy.
        “Nobody is ripping anybody in this article.”
        Yea, maybe not in this article, because you actually did some real research about someone before blogging so you learned there was little to rip, but you certainly have written plenty of things (very recently) where you rip people based on little to no actual knowledge of a situation or person.

        Can’t you see how your blogs in the last two weeks are very telling?
        Now you are saying things like ” It wasn’t just because Shooter was working with Bucky that I had a problem with that collaboration, it was the song and the context. And it wasn’t just because Shooter collaborated with a pop star, as some have alluded.”

        If you had a simple problem with the song, why did you go off on Shooters entire career and what is your problem with Bucky? You don’t know anything about him except some police blotter you read (which half was dropped charges)
        Oh yea, you hinted he was a 2nd rate pop-country star posing as an outlaw. But today you write “…as some have alluded.”

        YOU alluded! I understand you’re reeling. You were riding high and mighty when Taylor Swift is collaborating with B.O.B or when Kid Rock acts like a douche on an awards show, but when the collaborations and douche bags become friendly in your backyard, then “the wind blows back on you.”

        • I’m reeling?

          I stand behind the research I did on the Bucky Covington article. He’s a hack, and Shooter is a sellout for working with him.

          • You always say that. “I stand behind, I stand behind”.

            Statements presented as fact then defended as an opinion when proven wrong, and you don’t live up to the mistake, is pretty irresponsible and unprofessional.

            You are the hack pal.

  • Hey Trig, any word from Leroy on the collab?

    • Of course not, all my articles are based on assumptions because all the artists hate me. Just ask Shooter fans.

      • I was just asking out of curiosity, I don’t really care about this whole Shooter thing.

  • Like most people, I love Johnny, Merle and Dolly but best version ever of “Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You’ was by a guy called Joe Sun.

  • Now I’ve heard it all. Thanks for the laugh Triggerman, i haven’t laughed like that in a while.

  • Johnny Cash is kind of like golf and kayaks to me. I don’t dislike golf and kayaks per se, I just dislike the people who golf and kayak. Among pop tarts and other idiots, its really cool to like Johnny Cash, because he covered NIN and Tom Petty songs.

    • Those would the same people who’ll say “I don’t like country, but I like Johnny Cash.”

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2011/08/24/alice-cooper-kesha_n_935657.html

    This isn’t entirely related to country, but it’s still relevant to giving an artist some room. 

  • Dang now I can never go back to not knowing who the heck Ke$ha is. I’ll think i’ll go cleanse my brain and listen to some Cash live at Folsom.

  • is this from the Onion?

  • video from 2007 Id say she actually like country she sounds alright in this song it just not quite my cup of tea http://youtu.be/Z9Ydm_JcUtI

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