I remember…at I guess about 12 or 13….squeezing into my dad’s Toyota pickup. A 1988 grey, with no cab, so me and my two sisters would (probably illegally) cram in the front seat with Dad on the way to school or soccer or wherever. This was the old school stick-shift truck with the weird stick emergency brake you had to pull towards you, twist, and then release.
My sisters and I would fight tooth and nail to get to pull this emergency brake.
It was always hot and squished, never enough room, with a tape deck and country music.
Tanya, Garth, Trisha, Mary, Alan, Randy. Wynonna when she first went solo!! “Maybe it was Memphis” but I can still sing all the words. So I guess we’ve always loved country music. But now that I’ve lived in the South for six days, I finally feel more qualified to write this tutorial.
How to Write a Country Song
Extensive research has shown me that you only need a few key elements to have a smash hit. Take notes, remember that all good songs have three chords or less, grab a Bud/Coors/Miller Lite, and get ready to take Nashville et al by storm. Here’s the recipe:
- mention sunrise or sunset. Noon or any other time of day is dumb.
- clean a gun, shoot a gun, aim a gun at a terrorist or the guy who thinks he’s dating your daughter.
- throw in a body of water – beach, lake, toes in the sand, creeks are good for making out and skinny dipping.
- remember how well “train” rhymes well with “plane.”
- HAVE A BIG TRUCK OR YOU ARE A YANKEE.
- insert guitar solo!!!
especially if you are a female, at some point, there must be rain. You must either cry, dance, or drive in it. (While we’re on the subject, someone get Taylor Swift an umbrella or inside before that girl dies of pneumonia.) “Rain” also rhymes with “train” or “plane.” Or the predictability of your lyrics drives me “insane.”
- mention Jesus/God, or you’re a heathen and your records won’t sell.
- jeans/daisy dukes
- beer. whiskey is also acceptable.
- take a backroad somewhere. Don’t want to be mainstream.
- ride a horse
- ‘Murica. Remember – you’re from the South. God is on your side, and you are a PATRIOT. Wave that flag! Wave it in a song!
- Porches, picket fences, back roads, tractors, fields.
- Work in a dramatic silent pause that will really complement the pyrotechnic display during your concert series.
Ha. Reading back over this post, it would seem like I’m cynical towards country. But really, I love it. Different from many other genres, I feel most country songs have a story behind them – you can plot, cast, and direct a music video in your head to them. And they’re so rhymey and good-timey that by the time they get to the second verse, you probably already have the chorus memorized and can guess the bridge.
I’m not ashamed to say that a lot of what I love bout country music is the ‘motions they make me feel for ‘Murica at times. Or love in general. It’s just feel-good stuff. They’re generally sweet, family-friendly, benign songs that are great for afternoons and beer-drinking. And what else do we need?
So. As my citizenship in North Carolina solidifies, and as I listen to one more terrible version of “Wagon Wheel”….thanks for taking me in, the South. I’ll try to do you right. :)
- Trisha Yearwood & Garth Brooks to Record Duets Album In Near Future (roughstock.com)
- Play Me Some Mountain Music (yellowdaisychickchat.com)
- Country music hits the hip-hop trail (theguardian.com)
- 10 Contemporary Country Songs That Tom Petty Needs To Hear (news.radio.com)
- 23 Country Songs From The ’90s That You Still Know By Heart (buzzfeed.com)
- Ten Country Songs For People Who Listen To “Everything But Country” [VIDEOS] (coed.com)