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Old 09-30-2018, 01:00 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Default Contemporary country music

There are several recent country songs whose lyrics I like. I thought I'd start sharing these here, it's not a genre most Sphereans are likely to encounter much, and I think many here might enjoy the wordsmithing. First up:

"Written in the Sand" by Old Dominion

I'm not a huge fan of the video itself, which is the same generic "glamor of a band on tour" presentation everyone has seen a million times. But I love the song, and the way those internal rhymes add so much torque to the idea being presented. (The video is the sanitized version, but I'm leaving the profanity in the lyrics below because of the rhyme.)

According to Wikipedia, "Lead vocalist Matthew Ramsey wrote the song with group members Trevor Rosen and Brad Tursi, along with Shane McAnally, who produced it."

Lyrics:
Turn me on, turn me off, then you turn me back on by the weekend
And you won’t say the words that I want but you flirt when you’re drinkin’
I see those bubbles pop up like you’re texting then they disappear
Let's cut through the shit then let’s get to what we’re doing here

Are we just a backseat, tryna get it while we can?
Are we names in a tattoo, or just a number on a hand?
Are we last-call kissing or will we be reminiscing with each other for the next forty years?
Are we written in the stars, baby, or are we written in the sand?

Yeah, I want you to want me to take you back home to my mama
Put my name on your lips, call me yours and forget all this drama (forget it all)
Your makeup is next to my toothbrush but you never put it away on the shelf
I'm asking you baby 'cause I’m tired of asking myself (tired of asking myself)

Are we just a backseat, tryna get it while we can?
Are we names in a tattoo, or just a number on a hand?
Are we-last call kissing, are we dancing in the kitchen, baby tell me what it is or what it isn't?
Are we written in the stars, baby, or are we written in the sand?

Are we just a backseat, tryna get it while we can?
Are we names in a tattoo, or just a number I should wash right off my hand? (wash right off my hand)
Are we last-call kissing or will we be reminiscing with each other for the next forty years?
Are we written in the stars baby, or are we written in the sand?
Are we written in the stars baby, or are we written in the sand?

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 09-30-2018 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 09-30-2018, 01:27 PM
Simon Hunt Simon Hunt is offline
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Thanks, Julie. I think this will be a fun thread. There's lots of great story-telling ballads in country music, of course--and so-called alt-country has produced some great lyricists like Jay Farrar and Rhett Miller. But the first lyric that your thread brought to my mind is this recent "mainstream" country single from Ashley MacBryde. The content skirts close to Nashville cliche, but I find real dexterity in her wordplay.

A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega

[Verse 1]
To the bag packed, first love leaver
The heart cracked, double down dreamer
The homesick for grass that's greener
And a slice of Mama's peach pie

[Verse 2]
To the flat broke, couch cushion gas money
The worker bee that ain't gettin' no honey
Missin' someone all the while runnin'
Gunnin' for the brighter lights

[Chorus]
Here's to the break ups that didn't break us
The break down, wrong turn that takes ya
To a little dive bar in Dahlonega
Hear a song from a band that saves ya, man
It's hittin' rock bottom smoke 'em if you got 'em
Nothing's going right
Makin' the best of the worst day kinda night

[Verse 3]
We've all got a number that we don't wanna drunk dial
And a good friend we ain't seen in a while
And a slow dance left in these boots
And a chance at putting down new roots


[Chorus]
Here's to the break ups that didn't break us
The break down, wrong turn that takes ya
To a little dive bar in Dahlonega
Hear a song from a band that saves ya, man
It's hittin' rock bottom smoke 'em if you got 'em
Nothing's going right
Makin' the best of the worst day kinda night

[Chorus]
Here's to the break ups that didn't break us
The break down, wrong turn that takes ya
To a little dive bar in Dahlonega
Meet a girl outside Atlanta, man
It's hittin' rock bottom smoke 'em if you got 'em
Nothing's going right
You're just singing along with your drink riased
A pretty little blonde thing's looking your way
Makin' the best of the worst day kinda night
Yeah, it's making the best of the worst day kind of night

[Outro]
Oh
Here's to the breakups
It's that kinda night
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:58 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Just about any time I listen to country music I'm bowled over by some lyric or another. And still I only seem to listen by accident. Last week a band we'd come to hear at a park let a country singer do a short set in the middle of their performance. Among his songs was one (by Merle Haggard? Willie Nelson? The internet makes it easier to learn who's sung a song than who wrote it) with this great title:

"I'm Always Here at Home Till Closing Time"

I remember Kurt Vonnegut preferring country lyrics to those of Bob Dylan.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:42 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Dear Hate
by Maren Morris, featuring Vince Gill

Dear Hate,
I saw you on the news today
Like a shock that takes my breath away
You fall like rain
Cover us in drops of pain
I'm afraid that we just might drown

Dear Hate,
Well, you sure are colorblind
Your kiss is the cruelest kind
You could poison any mind
Just look at mine
Don't know how this world keeps spinning round and round

You were there in the garden like a snake in the grass
I see you in the morning staring through the looking glass
You whisper down through history and echo through these halls
But I hate to tell you, love's gonna conquer all

Dear Hate,
You were smiling from that Selma bridge;
In Dallas, when that bullet hit, and Jackie cried;
You pulled those towers from the sky
But even on our darkest nights, the world keeps spinning round

You were there in the garden like a snake in the grass
I see you in the morning staring through the looking glass
You whisper down through history and echo through these halls
But I hate to tell you, love's gonna conquer all

Dear Love
Just when I think you've given up

You were there in the garden when I ran from your voice
I hear you every morning through the chaos and the noise
You still whisper down through history and echo through these halls
And tell me love's gonna conquer all

Gonna conquer all

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She sure does pen a good song. Pens a pretty good essay, too.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 10-19-2018 at 02:46 AM.
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Old 10-22-2018, 03:49 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Okay. Let's talk Kacey Musgraves.

Soooooo hard to choose only one song. She's written so many clever ones.

Okay, I'll go with her 2014 Best Country Song Grammy winner. (Which beat out another of her songs that I love, also nominated, but recorded by another artist.)

The song "Merry Go 'Round" contains the title reference for her album Same Trailer, Different Park (the 2014 Best County Album Grammy winner, BTW).

Merry Go 'Round
Written and performed by Kacey Musgraves

If you ain't got two kids by 21
You're probably gonna die alone
At least that's what tradition told you
And it don't matter if you don't believe
Come Sunday morning you best be
There in the front row, like you're s'posed to
Same hurt in every heart
Same trailer, different park

Mama's hooked on Mary Kay
Brother's hooked on Mary Jane
And Daddy's hooked on Mary two doors down
Mary Mary quite contrary
We get bored so we get married
And just like dust we settle in this town
On this broken merry go 'round
And 'round and 'round we go
Where it stops nobody knows
And it ain't slowin' down
This merry go 'round

We think the first time's good enough
So we hold on to high school love
Say we won't end up like our parents
Tiny little boxes in a row
Ain't what you want it's what you know
Just happy in the shoes you're wearin'
Same checks we're always cashin'
To buy a little more distraction

Mama's hooked on Mary Kay
Brother's hooked on Mary Jane
And Daddy's hooked on Mary two doors down
Mary Mary quite contrary
We get bored so we get married
And just like dust we settle in this town
On this broken merry go 'round
And 'round and 'round we go
Where it stops nobody knows
And it ain't slowin' down
This merry go 'round

Mary Mary quite contrary
We're so bored until we're buried
And just like dust we settle in this town
On this broken merry go 'round
And 'round and 'round we go
Where it stops nobody knows
And it ain't slowin' down
This merry go 'round

Jack and Jill went up the hill
Jack burned out on booze and pills
And Mary had a little lamb
Mary just don't give a damn no more
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Old 10-30-2018, 08:25 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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A nice, gritty lyric. But I find most contemporary country unlistenable, especially that by Gen-Xers with a choke in their voice.
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:54 PM
David Rosenthal David Rosenthal is offline
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Good idea for a thread, Julie. I like Kacey Musgraves, and I think that is her best song.

I'll come in with this from the Pistol Annies. For those who don't know, they are a sort of "super group" made up of Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley, and Ashley Monroe, who also share songwriting credits on this:


HOUSEWIFE'SS PRAYER


I've been thinking about
Setting my house on fire
Can't see a way out of the mess I'm in
And the bills keep getting higher
All I need is a match and a gallon of gas
God I'm getting tired
Gonna set this house on fire

I've been thinking about
Going off the deep end
My man can't get no overtime
And the baby ain't been sleeping
All I need is a washing machine
These hands have gone fading
I'm about to go off the deep end

Well I've been thinking about
All these pills I'm taking
I wash them down with an ice cold beer
And a love I ain't been making
Oh, I feel like I'm burning up
With words I ain't been saying
And all these pills I'm taking

I've been thinking about
Setting my house on fire


David R.
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:00 AM
David Rosenthal David Rosenthal is offline
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Here's one I like by one one of the aforementioned Pistol Annies, Angaleena Presley:


DRY COUNTY BLUES

one traffic light in front of the high school
kids in the parking lot fixing to lie to
an old worn-out deputy, don't even carry a gun

there's a car full of pillbillies looking to score
from one of them trailer court front porch drug stores
and a tired coal miner on a long West Virginia beer run

dry county blues, not a beer joint in sight
half the county's laid off, laid up or gettin' high

at the head of the holler there's a makeshift casino
with a rusty pool table and blackjack and bingo
ain't nothing illegal as long as the sheriff gets paid

there's good Christian women locking their front doors
praying their daughters don't turn into meth whores
while their sons are out drinkin' and drivin' and trying to get laid

nowhere to go, not a damn thing to do
so you turn a blind eye, and barely get by
dry county blues



David R.
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:04 AM
David Rosenthal David Rosenthal is offline
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One more for tonight, just cause I love it. I think Brandy Clark is a very good songwriter:


DRINKIN' SMOKIN' CHEATIN'


I ain't been drinkin', but if I was drinkin'
I think I'd be drinkin' bourbon
And right now you'd be a blur
And I wouldn't hear a word
'Cause I'd be good and drunk
That's for certain

I ain't been smokin', but if I was smokin'
I know I'd be smokin' weed
When you blow all our money
I'd laugh, it'd be funny
'Cause high as a kite is where I'd be

I love you, baby
But sometimes, baby
You dance on my last nerve
And I get an insane kind of urge

I ain't been cheatin', but if I was cheatin'
That's right I'd be cheatin' on you
I am just daydreaming
Thank God I ain't been cheatin'
'Cause if I was I'd be losing you

I ain't been drinkin', smokin' or cheatin'
'Cause if I was, I'd be losing you



David R.

(I'll be back later with some Margo Price.)
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2018, 05:04 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Songwriters Brandy Clark (from Post #9 in this thread), Shane McAnally (from Post #1) and Kacey Musgraves (from Post #5) bring you

"Mama's Broken Heart"
performed by Miranda Lambert (from Post #7)

I cut my bangs with some rusty kitchen scissors
I screamed his name til the neighbors called the cops
I numbed the pain at the expense of my liver
Don't know what I did next, all I know, I couldn't stop

Word got around to the barflies and the Baptists
My mama's phone started ringin' off the hook
I can hear her now sayin' she ain't gonna have it
Don't matter how you feel, it only matters how you look

Go and
Fix your make up
Girl it's
Just a break up
Run an'
Hide your crazy
And start actin' like a lady
'Cause I
Raised you better,
Gotta
Keep it together
Even when you fall apart,
But this ain't my mama's broken heart

I wish I could be just a little less dramatic
Like a Kennedy when Camelot went down in flames
Leave it to me to be holdin' the matches
When the fire trucks show up and there's nobody else to blame

Can't get revenge and keep a spotless reputation
Sometimes revenge is a choice you gotta make
My mama came from a softer generation
Where you get a grip and bite your lip just to save a little face

Go and
Fix your make up
Girl it's
Just a break up
Run an'
Hide your crazy
And start actin' like a lady
'Cause I
Raised you better,
Gotta
Keep it together
Even when you fall apart,
But this ain't my mama's broken heart

Powder your nose
Paint your toes
Line your lips and keep 'em closed
Cross your legs, dot your I's
And never let 'em see you cry

Go and
Fix your make up
Girl it's
Just a break up
Run an'
Hide your crazy
And start actin' like a lady
'Cause I
Raised you better,
Gotta
Keep it together
Even when you fall apart,
But this ain't my mama's broken heart

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 11-02-2018 at 05:07 PM.
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