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“Songs About Trucks” performed by Wade Bowen and written by hot songwriting commodities Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally has become one of 2013′s big anti-hits with its off message take on truck songs and their daisy chains of clichés. Usually accompanying these odes to idiocracy are modern country music videos complete with hot rods, hot girls, and jacked up trucks burning brodies in churned up mud, hurdling themselves headlong toward the cause of finding a new frontier for image-driven misogynistic consumerism and sheer indolency. So it is only appropriate that Bowen’s anti-hit should be accompanied by an anti-video.
Shot and produced by James Weems and Glen Rose, the “Songs About Trucks” video co-stars filmmaker Blake Judd of JuddFilms as an overzealous Nashville videographer looking to turn a timid Wade Bowen into an oversexed country star, fitting him with designer duds, dapping makeup on his face as he squints and pouts, while bikini-clad coeds cool down in the water getting ready for their juggy cameos. Eventually Bowen slunks off the set to sit in a bar with a lone cameraman, telling his story in a simple manner.
Just as some have pointed out that songwriter Shane McAnally has had a hand in some of the recent “bro country” songs that “Songs About Trucks” looks to lampoon, filmmaker Blake Judd also has been behind the camera for some “titties and tailgates” shoots, including the Bucky Covington / Shooter Jennings collaboration “Drinking Side of Country” and the Jawga Boyz / Joe Diffie mashup “Girl Ridin’ Shotgun.” It may have been cool if the “Songs About Trucks” video took the sensationalism to the next level, with legions of buxom chicks dancing and an army of mud-caked trucks, but Bowen probably doesn’t have the budget the big boys do. Nonetheless, this video does a good job illustrating what is at the heart of the message of “Songs About Trucks” and Wade Bowen as an artist, which is an honest portrayal of a man who just wants to be seen as one of us, instead of an entertainer on a pedestal.
1 ¾ of 2 guns up. 4 of 5 stars
I’m sorry people, but unfortunately this exists…
Apparently we’ve been fools America, toiling aimlessly and unproductively with the issue of race for 150 years when the solution was right under our noses. Why did we fight The Civil War? Why did we waste our time with the civil rights movement? Why did we integrate schools when the whole damn time all that we needed to bridge the racial divide were bouncing cars and really really bad music? What a shame that the hydraulic automobile shock wasn’t invented in 1860 so Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant could’ve just rolled their respective shagging wagons up to Appomattox and worked that shit out by swapping dance moves. Blake Shelton is a goddamn genius. Somebody give that douche nozzle a Nobel Prize!
If equality is what Blake Shelton was looking to strike in the video for “Boys ‘Round Here,” then he deserves a big pat on the back. Because anything and everything about this eye-raping edifice to the universal monoculture and hyper-driven consumer excess mixed with vomit-inducing racial tokenism is as equally repulsive as it is embarrassing. Yes, let all of the rationally-minded people of the earth, regardless of sex, race, creed, religious background, or social status come together and join hands in perfect harmony to collectively declare like a chorus of hosannas that this video blows complete and utter ass. Hallelujah!
The problem with this video is that if you don’t take it as a given that white people and black people are inherently distrusting of each other, then the premise doesn’t work. Just like with the Brad Paisley and LL Cool J collaboration “Accidental Racist,” Blake Shelton is using the race card as a Trojan horse to hopefully invade mainstream radio with country rap, positioning this song so that if you disagree with it, then you’re closed-minded, ignorant, and don’t want country to evolve.
Yes, this is the evolution of country music people! And we’ll finally know that racism has been forever vanquished and country music has finally evolved when every single song on the radio sounds exactly the same, and contrast and diversity has been forever bled out of culture. Because the way all people can come together is not by understanding and celebrating our differences, but by resolving them until we are all the same. Oh, and isn’t it convenient that this would also make us all so much more susceptible to mass marketing?!?
But enough conspiracy theories, I ask any of you that either own cattle, know someone who owns cattle, or anyone that works with cattle what the likelihood would be that you would have a porch party and invite a heifer to just be standing there to pet like a lap puppy? And how ironic is it that right after Boyz to Men shows up to the party is when the lyrics about “keepin’ it country” kick in? Combine all of that will the silly placement of the Pistol Annies like coiffed sirens at the edge of a shit crick, and this is video is so contrived it hurts my soul.
And I would bet you blinged-out car rims to cowpies that more fans of this song think that Blake Shelton is name-dropping Chewbacca in the “chew tebacca chew tebacca” refrain than have any idea what the hell a “Bocephus” is.
But we’ll have the last laugh folks, trust me. This country rap crap will be the pet rock of our generation. For many, this song and video is their entertainment. For the rest of us, our entertainment is watching those knuckleheads be entertained by this garbage. So do the world a favor, and if you find someone who is a fan of this song or video, for the love of God, don’t have sex with them.
Two guns way down!
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Your official Saving Country Music “Boys ‘Round Here” healthy replacement alternative courtesy of Corb Lund:
Yes, yes we all know nothing about this is country, so let’s not waste any time rehashing old arguments. What intrigued me about this video is its boldness and its breadth, and how it perfectly illustrates the greater Taylor Swift paradox.
The video for “I Knew You Were Trouble” is heavy in concept, story, and mood. It starts off with Taylor waking up in a dystopia landscape in the form of the leavings of a drug-infused rave. Quickly characters are introduced that are completely counter-intuitive to the prim and proper Taylor Swift persona we are all familiar with, while Taylor herself is dirtified in a hipster punk getup with disheveled, pink-tipped hair, dark eyes, and her subtle overbite captivating the eye like Jennifer Grey’s pre plastic surgery sniffer.
Bar fights, cheap hotel rooms, Misfits T-shirts, bad tattoos, and the general trappings of a downtrodden, transient life create a backdrop for a tragic story that our sweet Taylor gets so unfortunately wrapped up in. The vision of the “I Knew You Were Trouble” video is beyond ambitious, and through the intelligent and creative use of light, setting, character, and costuming, they accomplish the most craved effect for a 5 to 6-minute piece of film: transporting you to a different place.
The “love as drug” storyline is enthralling, and the moral about losing who you are is both stimulating and well executed, helped along by Taylor’s reflective and contrite dialogue bookending what should really be characterized as a cinematic short as opposed to a simple music video.
Are you feeling the mother of all “but’s” coming on? Because that’s what hits you at the 2:03 mark when the actual “I Knew You Were Trouble” song gets piped into this post-Apocalyptic panoram. The effect is the utter destruction of any fantasy or mood this video conveys. The ultra-sacchrine, clean, ska-esque power pop opening guitar riffs, followed by the hip-hop cadence of Taylor’s bubble-gum dance club lyrics are like pouring a gallon of white paint on a Rembrandt, or serving caviar on a Cheeto.
Taylor Swift, the sweet little curly-haired girl that wrote all her own songs about romance is who America fell in love with. If she wants to become a dance club diva, she will quickly become a small fish in a big sea. Sure, the short term success will be (and has been) grand, but it will be at the expense of the long term acceptance as a substantive artist that Taylor Swift covets.
The video for “I Knew You Were Trouble” is about losing yourself, and ironically, that is exactly what Taylor Swift does with this song. Co-written by the pop hitmaking duo of Max Martin and Shellback, the dubstep-inspired tune is Taylor Swift uncharacteristically losing sight of what made her America’s greatest pop star: being herself.
Taylor has built her persona around being the anti-party girl. By putting out a party song, she’s off message, and out of her element. The song says, “I knew you were trouble when you walked in,” alluding to the antagonist entering somewhere, like a club where you would hear the type of digitally-manufactured dance music that “I Knew You Were Trouble” is synonymous with.
But in the video, Swift encounters the antagonist in an open space, and hangs out with him at a concert with a real band playing real instruments. She is also seen hanging out with him in a run-down diner, and bedding down with him in a dirty room. None of this creates contrast, it creates compromising confusion of mood and setting, in both this video and in the Taylor Swift cult of personality. I understand Taylor Swift is playing a character in the video, not being herself. But when it comes to the song, this is being presented as all Taylor.
No doubt in Taylor Swift’s brain, signing on with Max Martin and Shellback to do a gaggle of songs for her latest album was a stroke of brilliance. She has called them “heroes.” But just like the overall experience with Taylor’s album Red, the Martin/Shellback influence comes at you as completely out-of-step with what is otherwise a pop record filled with a curious amount of depth. We all make mistakes. The alarming part is that in this case, the mistakes are being rewarded with commercial successes and tremendous attention, possibly taking these songs from a trial balloon, to a pattern of behavior to stretch into the foreseeable future.
The most critically-acclaimed song in Taylor Swift’s career happens to also be her most country song ever, that being the double Grammy-winning “Mean” inspired by her critics. Taylor Swift says now that she no longer reads her criticism. She doesn’t want to be part of that negative experience, yet her personal life seems to be a torrid foray into high-profile flings, with the payoff being the inspiration for songs such as “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Now that Taylor is sequestered from the critical world, all she has is Mediabase numbers and YouTube plays to determine the success of her work.
You can’t have wild, short-term dance club success and keep your reputation as an artist of substance at the same time. Taylor Swift must choose. And with “I Knew You Were Trouble”, Taylor chooses poorly. Her “trouble” is not an antagonist cast in the role of a video, or a previous lover who jilted her. It is the denizens of the pop industry who would sell her long-term substance for their short-term success.
There is no morning after pill for that poor decision.
1 gun up for a brilliant video concept.
1 gun down for an awful song.
The Queen of Underground Country, the lovely and talented Rachel Brooke will be releasing her new album A Killer’s Dream on December 4th, featuring Florida’s Viva Le Vox as her backing band, and a duet with Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards. This will be her 3rd full-length album.
A Killer’s Dream was recorded at Rachel Brooke’s brother’s Halohorn Studio in Traverse City, MI, and will be made available in limited edition 100 red vinyl copies, black vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital form. All formats will be available for pre-order on Tuesday, November 20th at http://
The first cool surprise is the world premier video for the song “The Black Bird” that you can watch below. Rachel will also be touring through the South and East in February and March as part of a Viva Le Vox / Joe Buck Yourself / Rachel Brooke super tour that will eventually take her to Europe and the European Muddy Roots Festival this summer.
Jayke Orvis isn’t just a songwriter and mandolin player, he is a composer. When I first heard the song “Raise the Moon” on .357 String Band’s first album, I knew this was more than mere throwing words and chords together. “Dreadful Sinner” from his new album Its All Been Said is in the same vein, with tight arrangements in a composition-based approach that is more like classical music than anything.
The exquisite thread that Jayke weaves by interchanging notes and patterns between mandolin and acoustic guitar is spellbinding. Ambient sounds and real-life audio add to the expansiveness of the song, and make it one where the full vision and potential was realized without any corner cut. So what better song to make a video for, and to take the same care, time, and attention to detail with.
Jayke procured the services of video maker Sean Martin, and it was shot in and around Pittsburgh using friends as actors. The lake scenes were shot at a place called Shenley Park, and necessitated cast and crew carrying a mess of gear 300 yards and back, including a 100lb. generator and a boat used to sail gear across the lake. I’d have to say it was worth the trip, because however low or no budget this video was, you can’t tell from the outcome. Brilliant camera work, editing, and concept.
And a quick clarification. When Jayke Orvis and The Broken Band start on tour next month, it will be with the full lineup of The Goddamn Gallows that will headline, so you will get James Hunnicutt, then Jake Orvis & The Broken Band, and the Gallows as well, so don’t miss this if its rolling your way!
This Sunday at the Super Bowl, Carrie Underwood will very likely be lip-syncing the National Anthem, whether she wants to or not, and it is mostly the fault of the king of pop country, Garth Brooks.
This story starts way back in 1993 at Super Bowl XXVIII in Pasadena, CA. In 1993, Garth Brooks was not only the biggest thing in country music, but the biggest thing in music, period. Garth had just become the the first country artist ever to have three albums listed in the pop top 20 charts in one week. So when it came to handing out Star Spangled Banner duty, Garth was the obvious choice.
Everything leading up to and during the Super Bowl is planned out to the second. With so many people watching, so much money on the line, and so many different events and happenings to coordinate, everything must be carefully choreographed and remain on an uncompromising schedule. That is why the NFL began insisting to it’s Anthem performers that they pre-record their performances, even if just as a backup plan to singing live.
In 1991, Whitney Houston sang the Anthem, and it was considered by some at the time to be one of the best Anthem performances ever. Later it was revealed that Whitney was singing into a dead microphone, and the performance was pre-recorded. When Garth Brooks was asked to make a pre-recording of the Anthem two years later, he refused. Some might have thought that this was because Garth wanted to make sure the performance was live and pure, but as game time neared, Garth’s true motives were revealed.
Garth’s 1992 album The Chase included a song called “We Shall Be Free”, a gospel-esque song that he wrote after spending time in Los Angeles after the race riots following the Rodney King incident. Garth was hoping to debut a video for the song during the Super Bowl that included numerous celebrity cameos from people like Eddie Murphy, Jay Leno, and Patrick Swayze. However NBC, the broadcaster of the game that year, rejected the video because of “content some felt was disturbing imagery.” Along with the celebrity cameos, Garth’s video included clips of flag burnings, cross burnings and the Ku Klux Klan, intravenous drug use, riots, bombings, war scenes, natural disasters, and other questionable content; images that NBC did not want to broadcast to the family-friendly Super Bowl audience.
So Garth, 45 minutes before he was supposed to perform the Anthem, pulled one of the most bold stunts in Super Bowl history to force NBC’s hand: he walked out of the Rose Bowl stadium entirely, refusing to sing unless they aired his video. Producers tried to rationalize with him, explaining that there was no time budgeted for it, but Garth held his ground, and a standoff ensued. This sent NBC and the NFL into full panic mode: with 91 million people tuning in from all around the world, they had no National Anthem performer, and even worse, Garth had had the foresight to not give them a pre-recorded version that they could use as an alternative.
This was the worst case scenario for Super Bowl organizers. An NBC producer spotted John Bon Jovi in the Super Bowl crowd, and began to prep him as a plan B. Garth Brooks had NBC right where he wanted them, and the NFL could see that. So the NFL did something completely unprecedented in Super Bowl history, they moved the kickoff time back to accommodate the airing of the Garth video.
Garth Brooks had won, but in a lot of ways the rest of us lost. According to former NFL executive director Don Weiss in his book The Making of the Super Bowl: The Inside Story of the World’s Greatest Sporting Event, since the Garth incident in 1993, the NFL has made it a requirement that all Anthem singers make a pre-recording of their performances. Last year Jennifer Hudson sang the Anthem, months after members of her family had been killed. She was called “inspiring,” until it was revealed later that she had lip synced.
The Super Bowl’s music director last year, and for 1991 when Whitney Houston sang, and for many other years has been a man named Ricky Minor, who also works for the TV show “American Idol,” where this year’s National Anthem performer Carrie Underwood got her start. Minor explained to The Associated Press after revealing that Hudson had indeed lip synced, that it was on his insistence.
“That’s the right way to do it. There’s too many variables to go live. I would never recommend any artist go live, because the slightest glitch would devastate the performance.”
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I’m not a huge fan of National Anthem performances, but the idea behind it is to inspire people, and one of the ways natural talents inspire us all is by working without a net. The American public’s appetite and insistence on perfection and the use of lip syncing and Auto-Tune have taken the inspiration out of live music performance and turned it into pre-recorded puppetry.
I’m not a fan of Carrie Underwood, but I’ve said before that she is an amazingly talented natural singer. But what does that matter if her performance is pre-recorded, and run through pitch benders days before we all hear it?
Give me something REAL over something perfect.
The Hank Williams female reincarnation known as Rachel Brooke and Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards have just finished up a tour through the Midwest, Texas, and Florida in support of their duo record A Bitter Harvest. All the eyewitness accounts I have come across have had nothing but glowing things to say, and as I was hoping, some good quality videos have surfaced of the duo.
One of the things I was surprised and impressed with from Those Poor Bastards when I saw them earlier this year, was how they translate music that in the recorded format is heavily dependent on production to the live format without losing a lot of what makes the song great. A similar thing can be said about this Bitter Harvest material. “Someday I’ll Fall” is in top running right now for my Song of the Year, and following is a great performance of it:
The way Rachel slowly drops her pitch during the second part of the yodel nearly pulls off the amazing things Lonesome Wyatt did with her voice on the recorded version.
Here’s another from Backwoods Films, at the The Lafayette Brewing Company in Lafayette, IN:
Also for fans of Those Poor Bastards, the two 7″ Halloween releases including the one with Hank III’s alter ego “Skelton” are now available to purchase HERE. That is, if the 250 quantity hasn’t already been snatched up.
Complete, unedited video of Hank III’s performance at the Roxy on Friday Feb 28 2009 is now available on Mogulus Live!!! This video includes all the country, Hellbilly, and Assjack sets! Wow!
To access the video, look at the bottom left of the box for the button that says “On Demand.” Click on that bad boy and that should bring up a menu of artists. Then find Hank III (you might have to scroll) and it’s self-explanatory from there. If you do not follow these instructions precisely, then your mind will be melted by Grateful Dead hippie jazz, so be alert. If you still can’t find it, then please forward all complaints to the Complaint’s Department.
I also noticed they also have up another Hank III show from 6-2-06, also at the Roxy.
Nothing like seeing him live, but about as close as you can get!
Also Outlaw Magazine has asked all of us Hank III fans who have seen him on tour to chime in on their MySpace Blog.
AND if you go to outlawmagazine.com and click on the “editorial” tab, you can read a piece written by none other than myself!
And now I’m off to P-Town for the Hank III show on Tuesday night. Hoping to get some interviews and pics before the show, but sorry, you ain’t gonna see no pictures of the concert from me. Once the music starts, the business is done and I’m all leisure. Yeessss ladies and gents, hell will be raised!!!
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