10 April 2013

Brad Paisley's Guilt Trip?

Hank Williams - A Real Country Artist
I can't quite decide for sure if country music singer Brad Paisley is projecting, on a guilt trip, attempting to feel relevant, or just wants to impress elites with his continual "I apologize for being a Southerner" type songs. Before his latest debacle, he had another self-flogging piece about how he was expanding his horizons outside of his "Southern Comfort Zone." Yes, I guess that makes him so, like, cosmopolitan.

It's all getting rather old - though I'm no fan of the cutesy, teeny-bopper style "country" music that Paisley produces. I prefer the gritty style of Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, or Hank Williams (Senior or *Junior) over Paisley's new school, pastel-styled stuff. But a sweet little puff piece from National Pravda Radio suggests the elites are warming to Paisley's efforts in seeking absolution :
. . . it shows how fraught racial dialogue remains in America. Not to mention religious dialogue: I'm waiting for the uproar over "Those Crazy Christians," a similarly soul-searching provocation that I suspect even my more devout relatives would get a kick out of.
Yeah, that's gotta impress the ruling class elites - America [especially in the South] is a country full of racists and Bible-thumping crazies. Sounds like ol' Brad's been taking classes at Bowdoin:

The school's ideological pillars would likely be familiar to anyone who has paid attention to American higher education lately. There's the obsession with race, class, gender and sexuality as the essential forces of history and markers of political identity. There's the dedication to "sustainability," or saving the planet from its imminent destruction by the forces of capitalism. And there are the paeans to "global citizenship," or loving all countries except one's own.

If Mr. Paisley has "issues", he should talk to his preacher. The rest of us really don't need to be subjected to his public self-flogging, guilt-projecting stunts disguised as music. My advice to Mr. Paisley is don't worry about what everyone thinks of your Southern culture and heritage. Just be a good man and the rest will take care of itself. Putting your Southern guilt on display in truly horrible music is demeaning and about as unSouthern as you can be. Man up.

NPR closes their kissy piece with this:

. . . he fully embodies a tradition while also laying it down on the psychiatrist's couch. The jury's still out on his therapeutic approach, but as a musician, he's at the top of his game.

I think I'll throw up and then go listen to some Hank Williams tunes. Sometimes I get sick and need therapy too.

*Just to be clear, much of HW JR's stuff is a little too gritty for me, but I do LOVE his attitude.


Robert Moore said...


This seems more and more a case of a "mountains from a mole hill." It's flared-up, and will die down... and Paisley will keep on making money anyway.

Historically speaking, however... I'm not so sure Paisley is aware of his own heritage back to the "late war", and may be reflecting a "created identity" rather than one that is real. Is he Southern? Well, he might be WV country, and his Appalachia connections might make him, to some degree... Southern... but this might be an example where somebody (like him) has a blurry concept of seeing himself with "rebel connections" just because he identifies himself as being "Southern".

Paisley is a West Virginia boy (the Wheeling area). In fact, going back to the Civil War, most of his ancestors (save one branch, which was actually from Pa.) were from what is now West Virginia. Now, he does, in fact have one branch of the family in Kanawha County, so, if a "Confederate connection" exists, I'd be looking at that first. Still, I think the mnajority may have had other inclinations.

So, can he be taken seriously as one who apologizes for "being Southern"? Eh... maybe not so much.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hi Robert - I would tend to agree with you. I started to bring out the fact that Paisley is from WV, but even so, he's "trying" to identify with "Confederate" heritage, thus my rant. I also believe in one of his songs that he mentions that his grandfather was an immigrant - so I'm not sure if he even has any Confederate ancestors. Paisley will, no doubt, keep on making money. Though for some of his fans, this could be his "Dixie Chicks moment."

Thanks for stopping by.

Robert Moore said...

Oh, to be sure, he does have ancestry in the US back beyond the CW. Still, it's also true that he's of post-war immigrant stock. "Paisley" is an anglicized form of his Italian ancestor's surname, who worked in the coal mines.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Ahh, so it is possible that he has a Confederate ancestor. In that case, his "guilt" would be legitimate. ;-)

When Nashville goes Yankee, I'm leaving the country.

Robert Moore said...

On a somewhat related note (Nashville), if you aren't aware of it, you need to look for Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Union version" of Dixie. It's particularly ironic considering his Civil War Songs of the South album... which included, by the way "Stonewall Jackson's Way".

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

And, on another related note, I prefer Elvis's reconciliation trilogy.

EJ DAgrosa (HBG) said...

I never really cared much for the "new country" myself. I grew up with my grandfather (mind, I'm from New York) playing his old Marty Robbins, Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, Johnny Western (and I'm sure there were a few other "Johnnies" in there too!); to me that is what real country music is, not this POP-Country garbage. Give me songs about cattle drives and life on the range over Brad Paisley any day.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks EJ. Your Grandpa had great taste in music!

Anonymous said...

This blog reads more like a nursing home message board each and every day.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Coming from you Michael, that's quite a compliment. I'm sure this would suit your maturity level much better: