OFFSTAGE: Are Country Stars Lying to Us?

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Say it ain’t so. I’d hate to think that the rant from The Tennessean’s music writer Peter Cooper is true, that country singers are just a bunch of liars. But I’m afraid he might be right. Cooper writes, “It’s been ’dirt road’ this and ’back road’ that, and ’party in the woods’ this and ’redneck, hillbilly’ that. And I don’t believe you were on the dirt road to the barn party with your redneck, hillbilly friends. I don’t believe the story about the lake.” And then, “Why should I be interested that you’re so proud of where you say you’re from?” Cooper goes on to say that while he does dig a handful of songs about the Southern lifestyle, “your antics have grown tiresome.” I get what he is saying, and I agree that maybe there are too many of the same old clichés living inside the lyrics, but I’m not sure what the alternative is. I was not raised with a cane pole near a fishing hole or with country boys and girls getting down on the farm. I drank no jugs of sweet tea or moonshine. There were no buckets of fried chicken or haylofts. I was raised in the suburbs, in a station wagon, going to tennis lessons. I went to parties in other suburban houses. I drank Tab when I was a teenager, Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers when I got to college. I worked at the Limited in a mall. Now, who the hell wants to hear a song about all that? I’d much rather hear the clichés. So go ahead, country singers, lie to me until you figure something else out.