Monday, August 01, 2016

How to Write a Country Song

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Earlier this year, it occurred to me as I was listening to our local classic rock radio station that I have been listening to the same songs since I was in elementary school in the 1960’s.

I still don’t know all of the words to some of them.

To be honest, I’m tired of hearing the same songs. 

“Wait. Gene, I thought you were a pastor? Don’t you listen to only Christian music?”

Well, sometimes.

As I was riding with my daughter in her car during a recent visit, she had a country radio station on. Three songs in a row were about drinking.

“Bailey, all these country songs talk about is drinking!” I rebuked her like she was still a teenager.

“Well, all of your rock songs are about sex and drugs,” she replied.


Now, I’ll give country music a little credit. You can understand the lyrics. If Queen hadn’t put the lyrics to Night at the Opera in the album sleeve in 1975, I still wouldn’t know the words to Bohemian Rhapsody. (I know all of the words, but I still don’t know what it's about.)

Last week I decided to listen to the local country station. So far, I’ve heard Carrie Underwood sing about church bells pretty much every time I’ve had the radio on.

And I’ve decided that if you’re going to write a country song you need a few key words. There are some words in country songs that you will never, if ever, hear in any other genre of music.

For example, here are a few words you’ll only hear in a country song:

Blue tick hound
Dime store
The good Lord

I’ve learned that in just a week’s worth of country music listening. I’ll bet you veteran country music fans out there can think of a whole lot more. If you do, put them on my Facebook post. 

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