It’s Saturday, August 26, and I’m way too hungover. I’ll try to keep this quick. That being said, I do want to rage and rant. Though before I trigger the editor here with copious amounts of curses, let me start with a little story.
I’m a songwriter who’s sold publishing rights to 18 songs and has won 12 1st-place contests with my music. Two years ago (when I had only sold 11 songs at the time), I asked myself a deep question: How can people love my songs so much yet I don’t have a hit on the radio? So, I befriended (sorta) a songwriter named Clay Mills via his blog, and I joined his website, Song Town, which Mills co-owns with another songwriter, Marty Dodson. Their pitch is rather simple. “We’ll teach you what you need to know to be successful in today’s market.” Paraphrased, of course, but that’s the site’s entire point of existing. So, anyway, I signed up there, spammed a few songs, won back-to-back “Song of the Month” badges, and was all chest-out thinking I was the little king of everything.
But Clay Mills and Marty Dodson confirmed my suspicions about modern pop-country music (Or, “White-Boy SIMP-Hop,” as I like to call it). They would remind me–while their brainwashed members would berate me–that modern, commercial-friendly country needs to be dumbed-down. You can’t use “big” words that the common rabble don’t understand. Songs have to be under 3-minutes-30-seconds to keep the plebs’ attention. You have to talk about trucks and beer and partying and other redneck-friendly slogans. Does it sound like I’m patronizing you? Well, it sounded like they were patronizing me - condescending little ass-hats who played right into the corporate-controlled country market.
(Try That in a Small Town wasn’t written; hate to break it to you. It was factory-farmed via four corporate-approved songwriters who used populous slogans to make the right-wing clap like baby seals.)
I learned that almost every damn song you’re going to hear from the “country” genre today is just farmed from a factory where stale, popular slogans are used, and where small little wordlettes are interlaced between a catchy, ear-worm chorus to make you want to record a TikTok video of yourself shaking your ass to the fake, studio-produced beat.
Long story short: I insulted those dimwit culture-killers at every opportunity and was promptly banned from the site. I can’t stand this modern nonsense. It has no soul; it no longer tells a story. It’s corporate-friendly “songwriters” piece-mealing together common-use slogans and buzzwords to placate the masses, using canned studio tracks that insert electronic snaps on the downbeat. It’s horrible. Whatever happened to the Outlaws?
This brings me to Oliver Anthony, the hick-lib. Oh, before we get into what a phony this Yankee-sounding pretender is, you might want an explanation of “hick-lib.” Well, a hick-lib is a liberal-minded culture vulture who uses a fake Southern accent and acceptable Southern slang to infiltrate our culture and to ultimately grift off of us while they preach about the awesomeness of diversity and how great things would be if we in the South weren’t so bigoted and backwards.
Anthony’s song “Rich Men North of Richmond” took the world by storm. The usual suspects on the right instantly promoted it. Kirk, Walsh, Shapiro, on and on; they all pushed it as the greatest modern protest song ever. Being a songwriter who’s well known in certain social circles (not really, but let me pretend for a second), dozens of people asked me what I thought about it. They tagged me on Twitter, sent me DMs, etc. I told the truth: It’s a corporate-friendly novelty song that uses right-wing slogans to target tired, frustrated people who do not have a voice. Do not trust this fella, fellas.
A sample of Anthony’s lyrics I would use to make my point:
“I wish politicians would look out for miners
And not just minors on an island somewhere
Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat
And the obese milkin’ welfare”
I think that’s boilerplate and very nursery-rhyme-ish, and moreover, just slogans from the right-wing, basically. Though I like the alliteration there with “street/eat/obese.” That’s somewhat decent. But from my experience of being shut out of the industry, and my experience with Song Town, I knew right away that this was just some guy who wanted to use the political angst of the working-class, voiceless Southern-right to catapult himself to popularity. But I have 3,000 followers on Twitter. Who am I to tell Matt Walsh to stop being so damn gullible?
I take no pride in being right. In fact, I’m disappointed. I’d rather be wrong and admit such than to be right and disgusted that yet another hick-lib grifts off of the valid angst of the Southern-right, by pretending to be one of us.
You can hear his real voice - not a hint of a Southern accent. You can see him praise diversity, read him lavish praise on Joe Biden, and it’s just extremely obvious that here’s a guy who used the right-wing to make his life a little bit easier financially.
Though this does bring up a valid question: Do we blame the snake oil salesman for selling snake oil, or the dumb-asses who keep buying it every single time he knocks?
Brad Paisley is a pretty good singer. Brad Paisley is a pretty good guitarist. Brad Paisley is an okay-enough songwriter. Brad Paisley is a shitty Southerner.
Brad Paisley was born in West Virginia, and so most people would agree that’s the South - that’s country. Not so fast, my friends. Paisley’s really a city slicker, through and through. He was born and raised in Glen Dale, part of the Wheeling Metro area on the Ohio River. The Lord won’t be taking his soul back home to Dixie. Glen Dale is above the Mason Dixon. Does that matter? Well, I don’t see Toby Keith tripping over himself to do a duet with Volodymyr Zelensky about how pushing toward a nuclear holocaust is something worth dancing about to pop-country garbage. (Let’s just hope Zelensky keeps his clothes on in the music video.)
It really is shocking to see country music artists wrap themselves up in the bitterly partisan politics of our world today - particularly when they choose the side of election theft, the removal of freedoms, the indoctrination of children, and the universal suffrage of the plebeian class. While many country fans are firing shots at targets bearing Paisley’s oddly-shaped face over this globalist propaganda, some of us remember that this isn’t anything new for Brad the Boy Wonder.
In 2009, after the full year previous doing everything he could to get Barack Obama elected as President, Brad hit his knees metaphorically (at least we can hope it was only metaphorically) and opened up with a song he wrote in Obama’s honor: Welcome to the Future. In that song, he wrote the lyrics:
Really? You were born in 1972, Brad. School football doesn’t start until at least middle school. He references a homecoming queen, which is high school. So, let’s say it happened when he was in 9th grade. That makes it around 1986. So, in the mid ‘80s, in a metro area of West Virginia, Paisley wants us to believe that the KKK burned a cross in a black kid’s front lawn. Not impossible, but I can find no record of it - and it’s easier than you think to find cross-burning records on Google. A guy in Mississippi lit his own bush on fire, in his own front yard, and was arrested for a hate crime of cross burning.
Obviously that verse of the song is only there for Brad Paisley to apologize for being White to the then-newly-elected black President, and Paisley was rewarded for that tout de suite when he got to go to the White House specifically to play that song.
I know what the real Martin Luther would have to say about that nonsense.
And if you’re a Paisley fan who wants to give him the benefit of the doubt, oh, just wait! He wrote an even bigger turd, impossible to flush, called “Accidental Racist.” In this song, he apologizes for:
The lyrics are too embarrassing to even put to print here. Look them up, if your stomach is strong enough. Brad Paisley has to be the most cowardly country music musician in history. Can you imagine this guy on the road with Waylon Jennings and David Allan Coe?
Whatever has infected his brain has been there for a while; long before he joined the side of a potential world war. This guy literally said that his country music is like hip-hop for White people. (Which I don’t disagree with at all; I have my own name I use to refer to today’s hot garbage.)
Brad Paisley wears a businessman’s Lady Stetson rather well, with a head that’s way too small for his body. And he married a seething, crazy-eyed left-wing-bordering-actual-communist low-tier Hollywood actress. There’s a lot to be said about Brad Paisley. There really is. The thing that should be most emphasized about Brad Paisley: He’s the antithesis of a Southerner and is really a Yankee Union man at heart. He literally said Reconstruction was a good thing. Pray for this poor goofy bastard, please.
The man has quite a lot of fans running around out there - most of whom appreciate the genre of Country-Fried SIMP-Hop (dumb rap for white people) much more so than they appreciate actual country music - but the man has fans. No one can take that away from Mr. Paisley.
Now, I wouldn’t call Paisley an untalented hack. He has a few decent songs, though he is easily the most overrated country music musician to ever exist. Most of his catalog is just a rip-off of Ray Stevens, with songs that aren’t nearly as good. Boogity, boogity. But what should have been a one-hit-wonder middling talent in the country scene was propelled, through force, to become a superstar. The merchants who murdered Music Row kept propping him up, year after year, allowing him to host award shows. On those stages, he never managed to not make an ass out of himself.
Don’t look, Ethel!
I’m not sure what the future holds for Brad Paisley. He seems to be constantly auditioning to join John Legend and the girl who played Wonder Woman for a TikTok collaboration of a famous song. Maybe “We Are the World,” where the diverse performers gather together to berate Brad for being a White man, and he thanks them for it and apologizes on behalf of the entire South.
Whatever the future holds, I just know I’ll never bother listening to a new song of his. There are enough people who hate us already. We need to cut them out, not add them in.
If you’re a fan of country music, you’re supporting an extinct genre of music that died around the time Internet music streaming services were born. Though let’s not pretend the topic is that clear-cut. There still exists today a genre that’s called “country music,” but it has nothing to do with actual country. Back when Hank Williams and John Carson were the original country pioneers, and up through the Outlaw genre, and even into the ‘90s, country music consisted of real stories, real bands, fiddles and steel guitars, and true stories of human emotion put into song form.
Today’s country music isn’t country at all. It’s pop music - cookie-cutter drivel mass-produced in studios by greedy corporate executives who push out “earworm” songs laden with electronic instruments, studio soundtracks, and weak, repetitive lyrics that don’t say much at all. Worse than that: The bulk of today’s country music is just rebranded hip-hop that’s targeted to White people as party music.
For most people today, if you asked them, “Are you a fan of country music?” and they responded “Yes,” they generally mean that they like older, classic country. George Jones, Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe, Willie Nelson, and George Strait and Alan Jackson on the more modern end. Unfortunately, the Strait generation of artists was the last death throes of country music. Whereas if you asked someone if they liked pop music, and asked them to list their favorite artists, you can bet Taylor Swift is a name that would fly out of their mouths.
Let’s not confuse pop music today with actual country music. It’s insulting to true cultural pioneers who went through hell–and a whole lot of rejection–to bring the world one of the purest musical genres to ever exist.
Real country music is its own sub-genre, like “classic rock.” You don’t mix Imagine Dragons in with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. In the same way you shouldn’t mix Lainey Wilson and Zach Brown in with Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.
As the musical world started pushing modern, with music streaming services and ample competition among record companies, the idea became to push music out as a consumer good. This is entirely antithetical to the reason country music existed in the first place. True country started to become popular with the fantastic story-telling abilities of Hank Williams. These stories resonated with people who felt the pain and angst in the poetry.
At its peak, country music dominated the charts throughout the ‘70s when the Outlaw genre started. What the music executives did to kill country music in the modern era, they also tried back in the late ‘60s. They told artists like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and David Allan Coe that their music wasn’t catchy enough for the radio - it wasn’t safe enough, it wasn’t commercial enough. These rejected artists started working with independent labels, outside of the mainstream, which is why it was dubbed “Outlaw.” Surprising to the music execs, but not fans of country music, this genre of music would dominate the sappy, commercial music forced out by the largest corporate companies.
After country music became popular, shifty execs tried to kill it in order to monetize it for their own wealth generation. While this just threatened unsuccessfully to kill off country music two generations ago, it actually did kill it in the modern era. The mass monetization of country music went off without a hitch once all of those independent labels either went defunct or sold out to larger companies. On their second attempt to kill country, the corporations met zero resistance.
Country music is dead. You have a few artists who sound as if they’re real country musicians, such as Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs, but the fact is that they only sound like classic country when juxtaposed against the pop-music garbage that surrounds them on the radio.
This fact isn’t any secret. Every country music fan knows that country music died a long time ago. Keith Urban and Brad Paisley are no saviors - they’re progressive sellouts whose corny music is only as good as the person writing songs for their puppet act.
If you want real country music, the truth is you’ll just have to listen to the classics. The real deal is never coming back.
Brian Hendrix is a singer-songwriter who has won and placed in over 20 songwriting contests, winning 12 1st-place prizes. He has also sold publishing rights to 18 of his songs. He doesn’t have any hits under his belt to date, but you never know what the future holds.