Renegade country singer David Allan Coe had perhaps his biggest hit in 1975 with "You Never Even Call Me by My Name," written by Steve Goodman and John Prine. Coe notes that he considers it "the perfect country and western song." Except for what it was missing, which are the standard list of country music's cliches, with no mentions of "mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk." Then the songwriters added a final verse, incorporating all five of Coe's requirements. The new passage opens this way: "I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison." Coe then concluded, tongue firmly in cheek, that it was now "the perfect country-and-western song."
This year's country hit by Kip Moore, "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," provides a relevant contemporary example. It proclaims the joys of trucks, a farmer's field, beer, a pretty country girl, a tailgate, corn and a creek. One listen and you might think the song was assembled from Mad Libs, or song templates, on Nashville's Music Row.
So here are clichÃ©s in modern country songs. What have we missed? What aren't we appreciating about the lyrical possibilities in the country music world? Â
Rocking out to cliches
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