This is a cross-blog post from MarkNeustadt.com
Many years ago I knew a man named Horace. He was the first person I knew that was really a poet. He worked with me in customer support, but would write poetry as a form of meditation or therapy. He was kind enough to share some with me. Sadly, I don’t recall the poem itself, but I do recall being very moved.
Lately, I’ve been trying to get into country music. I have been a big fan of progressive rock and classic rock for many years but I’m getting bored with it. At the local dive bars where I like to hang out, they’re all country, all the time. I figured I’d start to expand my horizons and see if I could get some of it to stick.
There are many country songs I really, really like. They tend to be the more “poppy, mainstream” country songs. I’ve already brought up Brothers Osborne as one of my favorites. I also enjoy Chris Stapleton and Eric Paslay.
I’ve noticed (unshockingly) a few themes. First of all, in my estimation, more than 60% of the songs I hear sound the same. The same beat, the same key, the same tonal intonations of the singers (male or female). I mean they’re all just interchangeable. It’s pretty maddening.
There’s also the eye-rollingly predictable stereotypes of:
- Friday night
- Drinking beer
- My favorite bar
Gimme a break. Whatever… people love it. The thing that I’ve noticed that I wonder about though is the focus on the pickup truck.
Naturally, because of course. But why? I expect that it has a lot to do with the fact that pickup trucks are cheap. Tons and tons of people in little towns all over America can buy pickup trucks. They’re the common denominator.
But that got me thinking… how come there are no country songs about motorcycles? Bikes are cheap and plentiful. Maybe it’s Harley bias or maybe it’s because trucks are more utilitarian than bikes.
I bought a few books recently that are all motorcycle poetry or motorcycle haikus. Haikus don’t really lend themselves to song lyrics, but I expect that some of the poems in that book could be turned into songs.
A lot of the poems in there seem like they were written by first graders. Very elementary structure and scheme. Others are more unpredictable. Many are actually very moving.
Maybe this is my chance! Maybe I’ll start writing songs about the open road and my two wheeled steed. Living a life unconstrained by rules and policies, dependent on myself. Painting those mental pictures that transport people to another place only using words.
More likely, I’ll just sleep, eat, ride, eat, ride, sleep until I can’t ride anymore.