#217 – Dick Bernard: "Way Out Here"

Every year or two I get re-hooked on Country-Western (CW), and in recent months I’ve had the radio set on the local radio station that plays only CW.
It is interesting to listen to CW music, now and then. There is a particular dark side to the often simple down home laments. Like the guy whose preacher told him to pray for his ex-girl friend, and so he prays that’ll she’ll have a blow-out while goin’ 110 – themes like that.
Probably the anthem that grabs me most right now is Way Out Here by Josh Thompson. It speaks for itself. Listen, but also look at the video and the comments.
In my hearing, at least, there ain’t much hope in many of those country anthems. The one who sings about “rain is a good thang” cuz it makes corn and corn makes whiskey which makes his “baby” a little frisky…. As with Way Out Here, listen and look at the video and the comments.
Basically, it seems, if you ain’t got much, and not much hope of getting more, enjoy what little you’ve got. Quit complaining. I guess there’s some merit in that. But the next logical step is to give up, and accept a bad status quo.
All this plays right into the hands of the really Fat Cats who are quite content to have poor people be happy being poor and downtrodden.
“Way Out Here” seems to be set in coal mining country. The relatively recent tragedy in coal country, where 13 miners were killed, likely due to coal company negligence and flagrant ignoring of many safety regulations, doesn’t seem to have strong “legs” of outrage against the company among the local population. The mine, after all, is their livelihood, dangerous as it is. The multi-millionaire boss of the mining company can go around and publicly blame the government regulations for his problems, and get away with it. He knows how to get the choir to sing against the very (and only) entity that can help them out – government. Even “the good Lord” comes in second to their “gun” in protecting them from the outsiders “way out here”.
Does the Red-Neck CW represent a part of the Tea Party base? Mebbe so. Though it seems the true Tea-Partiers are more to the establishment Fat Cat side of society.
But not necessarily totally so. The difference between feeling hopeless and hopeful is only a few letters.
And CW ain’t bad. Even putting the links into this post is fun. Here’s Dierks Bentley. Dierks is a guy I actually saw in person at the North Dakota State Fair in 2007, and liked, a lot. I’d never heard of him before. You only get a sample here. Here’s the total song. And while you’re there listen to “What Was I Thinkin'”