Country music singers are the only artists speaking truth to power right now, it seems.

Header image: Tennessee Jet

People keep asking me why I listen to country music. I have written about why in the past, but it has now just occurred to me that the answer is really quite simple: country is the new punk.

I used to listen to rock and roll, but all the rock and rollers got old and unlike me, who also got old, they lost their appetite for being rebels. Or was the whole thing just a marketing stunt to begin with, as Van Morrison suggests? Whatever the reason, it occurs to me that the only real rebels left in the world of music are country music artists. People like Tennessee Jet. Listen to this song and tell me when you last heard something this ballsy in any other genre of music?

Politicians whorin’ for the war machine,
Laundering money in the name of peace,
Dressing up Zelensky in army green,
Marchin’ us right off into World War Three


Build back better? More like build back poor
They don’t give a damn once they get your vote,
Maui’s on fire, and Biden’s crackin’ jokes,
What used to be parody is now the status quo,
We’re livin’ in a South Park episode


Celebrities preachin ‘bout climate change,
Flyin’ out to Davos in their private planes,
If you can’t beat a man, change your gender and your name,
Cheat away a trophy from Riley Gaines

They’re butcherin’ kids as a remedy,
For feelin’ confused at puberty,
Sellin’ pure evil as sympathy,
And gettin’ rich in the sex change industry

How dare you dare to mention?
How dare you believe your eyes?
How dare you even question?
2 + 2 is 5

That’s as counterculture as it gets. In one song, he’s taking on almost every single pet issue that the mainstream has been trying to sell us in the last ten years. Remember when punk did shit like that? Well, not any more. At the last punk concert I attended, the band said at one point that they usually explode confetti all over the stands during the song that was coming up. But they don’t do that any more, they said, because of “the planet”. At that moment I knew that punk is now mainstream.

Turns out the new punk is country, apparently. Which kind of makes sense, when you think about where it came from. A large part of what today is called country & western music grew out of folk music and the tradition of people like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. And that’s why people like Tennessee Jet, Cody Jinks and Corb Lund are now the ones speaking truth to power.

So if you think country is lame and you don’t like the musical style or the fashion, maybe give it another chance. Punks also looked weird back in the day. It’s just a different weird look now with large hats instead of stupid hairstyles. If you like music with lyrics that mean something and don’t conform to the corporate and political bullshit you get served everywhere else, country is your last, best hope for peace of mind right now.

Most of these guys play a mean guitar and can sing, too. Plus, cowboy hats are not only a very distinguished look, once you start wearing them you realise they are quite handy. They keep your head dry and warm and your face in the shade in any weather. Take it from someone who’s worn the hat before he ever got into the music.