Gambits #14 – Pesky Caucasians? Turn up the Country Music

Attention: All those seeking equity and equality who aren’t already running our local governments, city councils, school districts, hospitals, sports franchises, school boards, economic development campaigns or spending tax dollars for Covid Vaccination Sites where white people aren’t, listen up.

A study by researchers Steven Stack of Wayne State University and Jim Gundlach from Auburn University hypothesize that topics often present in the lyrics of country songs — such as “marital discord, alcohol abuse and alienation from work” — can foster a suicidal mood among those who are already at risk.

The researchers performed a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas and found the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the higher the suicide rate. In their paper, the researchers explain that “the effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty and gun availability.”

The retort is that depressed white people simply seek out country music. You know, for that “Bummed but not the Lone Ranger” feeling of false empathy from a puppet pop star. Before they pop themselves.

This study was done two decades ago, so with with the deep inroads pop has made into country maybe things have changed. But I doubt it. Hell, enough Taylor Swift would make make anyone as suicidal as hearing Achy Breaky Heart ever again. But the main themes in country haven’t changed. A whopping 75% of country songs are the old heartbreak numbers. Add in the collateral damage from lost love and “dee-vorce” and there goes the truck, the double wide, the farm, the kids, the dog, all with drinkin’ as the usual offered solution and you have 98% of country music.

So, Sha’niqua, you wanna turn the little community college Becky’s outta the blood lab? Turnin’ up the R&B or BCA won’t help, but changing it to country will.

Think I’m foolin? Download the text.

Two funnies from my career in music: A conversation at a small, grimy cinder block bar outside Cheyenne, Wyoming, where we asked someone in the parking lot: “You got room for live music here?” “Why hell yeah. We got room for both kinds. Country and western. Which one are you boys?” Standing outside the Ryman in downtown Nashville with two geezers, one holding a violin (sorry, fiddle) case, the other a mandolin case while a hired gun guitar player threw down some serious shred warming up at sound check inside. Fiddle geezer looks at me and his friend, saying: “That shit rat there?” He thumbed the Ryman’s open door, spit a stream of tobacco juice into the street. “That shit rat there is whut the hayul’s wrong with country music ennymower.”

Or is it the fact that’s it’s all one song, as shown from 6 top songs being indistinguishable?

Published by

Phil Huston

17 thoughts on “Gambits #14 – Pesky Caucasians? Turn up the Country Music”

  1. You know, yesterday when I was scanning through the Sirius radio stations and it was making the unfortunate journey through country, I was thinking how all their songs are about cheating and alcohol. Which I don’t care about. And I can’t take their pain seriously because that awful twang inculcates zero empathy in me. Ugh. After years of national cable television, why is that accent still a thing? Uh if you sound like that, I was just kidding and find it very soothing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a story too long to answer that. Suffice it to say when I made it to California some people found my accent so offensive they schooled me. Which was strange because I thought a lot of coastal Calis sounded thin and nasal-y. A twang of their own. I worked on it over the years to where now old Okie friends say I have no accent (which is bs). But I get asked to do VO work on occasion. The way to kill it is to slow down, drop it an octave. I have been accused of mastering the slow Texas yeaaaaaaaaaaaahp and uhhhhhhh-huuuuuh. Because it keeps me from saying “whyn’t y’all go fuck yourselves” “or will you puh-leeeeeze shut the fuck up .” There’s a funny story about a country girl who marries a society guy and what she learned at finishing school.

      I used to go out of my way to avoid Reba McIntire when she was the house band at the OKC airport Hilton.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My own accent is nothing to be proud of. I am from the NY metro area and I’m very nasal. All R’s and few T’s. Butter = Budderrr and kitten = ki’in. If I ask you “What did you do today?” it comes out “wuhdjoododiday?” I was raised by lower class Baby Boomers (my father says we are lower than white trash because they have big screen TVs and motorcycles and we don’t) and there’s this certain pronunciation and intonation this population has around here that I inherited. I always cringe when I hear it coming out of my mouth when I’m speaking to someone of a higher socioeconomic class, especially someone my age or younger. I believe that eventually my voice will be one long slur and I will no longer need to move my mouth when I speak. Staten Island is the worst I think, unless of course you have loved ones from there, in which case I find it delightfully full of character.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew this. I switched off Country long ago. Not because I’m suicidal–which I might be–but I prefer Axl. While “Welcome to the Jungle” is not exactly life-affirming, but sure is exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a while, but I remember reading when Savoy Brown celebrated their 50th member and I wondered when GNR would hit that landmark. I like the stuff when Axl could sing. But like Roth, there comes a time to be a kitchy showman or sit down. Any sort of raw rage, or party crotch rock is a good thing. I think they’re testosterone boosters.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never gotten along much with alcohol. On the Mexican tours I learned to drink tequila the right way. Way long ago I was a rum drinker, but I was underage at the time and it was a weekend thing. Alcohol ruined or killed too many people I knew. As we say down here “Shine’s sumpthin’ good ta be shed of.”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Get way out in the boonies and you can drop all the music. I’d be on a narrow two-lane ribbon of asphalt in nowhere, headed for civilization and pick up all kinds of strangeness. a man an wife broadcasting out of their farmhouse, putting through CB conversations with truckers. Lord help us…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My grandmother from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, introduced me to country music when I was around 14 and it has been a guilty pleasure all my life. I have never been suicidal although the baseball term that titles my Blog was probably an unfortunate choice because anyone who searches “suicide” finds me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My father was a trumpet playing (hobby) jazzer, but on Saturday nights he’d fire up Porter Waggoner on TV. I think more for Dolly’s “qualifications” than anything else. There are too many stories about growing up in Oklahoma and all that, but I met more than my fair share of “Jenny, y’all gone an ate yet?” types.
      Also, you’d be surprised what kind of hits you’ll get depending on a post’s title.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Phil, I wanted to say this in a way that wouldn’t become a controversy, but I can’t find your email address or Facebook PM. So I figure if I comment on a post that’s not a blog hop, I can go under the radar. Cowardly? Somewhat, although I take plenty of heat for similar opinions elsewhere.

    I agreed with you on the dust-up a few weeks ago on the Blog Hop. Your analysis was spot on. It’s simply amazing that people who want to criticize 74% of the population are so thin-skinned when people return the analysis. Sorry it went the way it did. We live in very strange and disheartening times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m up to my ears with condemnation and the only offered resolution is free shit might make me feel better. I don’t do Facebook or any of the other social media platforms. I can spend enough time communicating with people I want to hear from and not some Gomer I worked with 20 years ago. But I do email. Watch your inbox and capture it.


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