Possibly the most sinister part of pop country these days is how it can make the attentive music listener feel so disfranchised from the rest of society. The idiocy on display during a country radio segment is enough to fill one with self-doubt about the entire direction of humanity, especially these long-belabored laundry list songs coming from country’s top male performers. You listen, and say to yourself, “If I hear another song about trucks, I’m going to shoot myself.”
But the beautiful part about music is that as much as it can be the culprit for personal angst, it can also be the antidote.
Once again a member of the Texas music scene has delivered a song that gives voice and reason to how the rest of us feel. Wade Bowen’s “Trucks” aims its big, diamond-plated bumper at the incessant references to tailgates and four wheel drives in modern pop country songs and slams on the gas. At the same time, it practices what it preaches, making sure to instill some story and soul into the song along the way, instead of just being a vehicle for protest.
“Trucks,” just like another Texas country semi-protest song by Josh Abbott Band called “I’ll Sing About Mine” excels at doing what Texas country does best: balancing substance with sensibility. Country music has a long history of protest songs, but “Trucks” is an example of the new approach that doesn’t aim to evangelize to a choir, but to increase the fold.
Just like Abbott’s “I’ll Sing About Mine,” it was penned by others. “Trucks” is a songwriting collaboration between rising traditional country songwriter, performer, and general badass Brandy Clark, and big-time hitmaker Shane McAnally. Though Shane McAnally’s resume of hit pop country songs might draw the stink eye from some, and maybe even make them wonder if this song isn’t some reverse Nashville marketing in action, we also might be seeing a company man who is beginning to see the light. McAnally also co-wrote and produced much of Kacey Musgraves last album.
“Trucks” isn’t a sensational song, but it’s solid, and shows the type of leadership country needs to throw a tow rope around country’s trailer hitch, and try to haul it out of the dirt road ditch.
1 3/4 of 2 guns up.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
“Trucks” originally appeared on Rawhide & Velvet. (If you don’t see Soundcloud player, try clicking ‘refresh’.)