Modern Country Music’s Selective Story Telling; Where Have All the Cowboys Really Gone?

 

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By Cheri Roberts of Challenging the Rhetoric and Cheri Speak

Country music has been M.I.A. when it comes to more than so-called “Patriotism”, getting laid or catching a beer buzz. The last time an established country artist (Dixie Chicks’, Natalie Maines) went against the country-grain, all hell broke loose and apparently scared the bejesus out of the rest of them.

Years after the Dixie Chicks’ incident, country music legend, Merle Haggard was quoted as saying,

I don’t even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching.”

Mirror-Mirror, Speaking of Lynchings …

Art is a reflection of the times. To listen to a song from any era one can get a very real idea of the times in which the artist lived. The song country music has been playing us for the past 14-years skips way too many of America’s very real [heart] beats choosing instead to strum the stripes right off the Ol’ “Red, White and Blue”.

In the days of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, J.J. Cale, Kris Kristofferson and  many others like them, country music had a lot more meat in its melodies and the stories told by country artists were meant for more than just to sell a song.

Over the past several years we have seen this country turned inside out over police shootings of unarmed Americans. This week an unarmed and completely innocent man was shot by police because he was using his cell phone to film an incident across the street from his home. He was on private property, had committed no crime, was not a “person of interest” or in any way involved in any wrongdoing.

In August, in Oregon of all places, 56-year-old Clatskanie Police Chief, Marvin Hoover, was placed on administrative leave and then chose to resign last week amid the investigations of outrageous racism and complete disregard for human beings comparing African-Americans to “monkeys” while making monkey sounds and moving around the room impersonating an ape.

According to the City of Clatskanie’s Tuesday statement,

“Upon notice of the allegations, the Chief was placed on administrative leave and the City initiated an investigation. The City strongly condemns the alleged conduct. Shortly after the investigation began, the Chief chose to end his employment agreement before the investigation could be completed. In the best interests of the City, the City agreed to a separation agreement based on Hoover’s employment agreement and also included a release of claims.”

In other words, his resignation is akin to an admission of guilt; and the behind closed doors “separation” and “employment” agreements, means no further investigation is “warranted” since he no longer works for the City, i.e. case closed.

The two officers who reported Hoover, claim they are now receiving death threats. These “good cops” should be awarded, promoted and applauded; not attacked and threatened. These are real Heroes, the kind people used to write songs about.

People everywhere should be shunning this development and voicing their disgust to the State of Oregon and to the world. The former police chief, along with the City of Clatskanie, should be investigated for what is essentially now a sweep-it-under-the-rug moment for legalization’s newest “Potland“.

There’s nothing more to see here folks …

… but there is, because the truth is, we are seeing this all over the country on a regular basis while the likes of current country royalty Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert dazzle us with the fact they can/can’t/can be friends post quickie-divorce.

Where Are Waylon, Willie And The Boys?

Who is making today’s music about these issues?

The mad irony here?  As seen in the lyrics below, it used to be country artists, not Rap artists, that told the real stories. We’ve lambasted Rap artists for being too hard, too mean, too in your face; or worse, too biased; especially on the issues of law enforcement, but yet,

From Kris Kristofferson’s song, “The Law Is For Protection of the People”,

“So thank your lucky stars you’ve got protection. Walk the line, and never mind the cost. And don’t wonder who them lawmen was protecting when they nailed the savior to the cross.”

From J.J. Cale’s song, “If You’re Ever In Oklahoma”,

“They got fines, they got plenty. They’ll hold you up for days on end. Threaten your life, take your money. Make you think you’re there to stay.”

From Johnny Cash’s song, “San Quentin”,

“And I leave here a wiser, weaker man. Mr. Congressman, you can’t understand.”

From Merle Haggard’s song, “Branded Man”,

“I paid the debt I owed ‘em, but they’re still not satisfied. Now I’m a branded man out in the cold.”

From Wayne Hancock’s song, Johnny Law,

“You ain’t nothin’ but a bully with  a star on your chest.”

 Just a couple of days ago, Merle Haggard was again talking about the downfall of country music saying,

“I can’t tell what they’re doing. They’re talking about screwing on a pickup tailgate and things of that nature. I don’t find no substance. I don’t find anything you can whistle and nobody even attempts to write a melody.” 

Ol’ Merle isn’t too, “Proud to Be” an American country music artist these days either and we don’t blame him.

Can you imagine someone with a fan-base like Taylor Swift producing a song about the plight of the “Black Man”? Or, Toby Keith singing about Ed Snowden’s actual disclosures and what they mean versus a song hanging him for treason ? And, the power that would have?

Bubblegum Blues

When did the music genre known best and most, for real story-telling, start relying on catchy bubblegum hooks, fear-mongering lyrics, and blatant rhetoric? Never mind the sex. Seriously, Carrie Underwood’s told us every which way that she’s pretty much done it all and blames Jesus as the taxi driver while she swears us all to secrecy in Vegas.

#CTR searched high and low for current country artists telling the real tales of what is happening in our country.

Where are the songs about the more than 3700 sick and dying 9/11 First Responders still suffering from the very event that set the country music world off on their irresponsible high-horse to begin with?

Where Have All The Cowboys Really Gone???

*R.I.P. Meryl

–> LISTEN TO THIS SHOW WEDS 9/16 <–

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