A few years ago I was playing in a band, and we got a new lead singer who was especially adept at country music. Now, I don’t listen to country music — I actually mostly play jazz-funk — but I recognize that country artists often have very good voices and that country tunes are often very melodic. I was open to playing a few country songs, just to see what that was like.
What absolutely struck me about the half-dozen country songs we did play was how many of them were basically extolling the Southern life-style. The songs we did included:
- That’s How Country Boys Roll (Billy Currington)
- Where the Blacktop Ends (Keith Urban)
- Southern Voice (Tim McGraw)
- Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Sweet Home Alabama is, of course, a direct response to Neil Young’s Southern Man, which really pissed off the boys from Lynyrd Skynyrd
Even the songs that weren’t directly about the South still praised the Southern and country life-style by implication. For example:
- One More Last Chance (Vince Gill)
- Gimme Three Steps (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
- Simple Man (also Lynyrd Skynyrd)
What I found just fascinating about this is what seems to be the massive insecurity complex that Southerners have about the South. They compensate for it by writing songs that basically praise their lifestyle incessantly.
Northerners don’t do that. We don’t write songs about how great New England is. People on the West Coast don’t do that, except for the occasional paean to how cute California girls are. Europeans don’t write songs about how fabulous Europe is. Nobody else does that.
I just find that fascinating.