The Blessing in Bro Country....Power in PRO Country

The Blessing in Bro Country…. Power in PRO Country
So today marks the first ever single release for Out East Records!  Actually it’s a dual-single release….which is kind of an oxymoron…DUAL…SINGLE…so technically does that mean we are releasing a “double?”  Idk.  All I know is I’d planned to release “What I’d Say” on March 10th  far before my “Bro Country” soapbox grew to colossal size.  

I’m sure if I had fancy marketing people like a major label they would tell me to release one of them later, but I can’t afford to hire those people.  Instead it’s just me typing from my bed lying on my tummy enjoying a strawberry Blow-Pop.  Ladies and gentleman – I present – your marketing team.  

(I’m also just getting to the gum – which is my favorite part!  As we speak I am interpreting it as a sign that I’m on the right track in life in general.  That I, too, am just getting to the good stuff, if you will ☺).  Hahaha  Like Brad Paisley says, “It’s funny because it’s true!”  Smh….

But today isn’t about the single release, ah hem, err…”Double.”  I told you last week I would elaborate on why my head might actually explode if I didn’t release Bro Country right now, so here goes.  

At first I only wrote the song out of anger over the negative press (besides, when else am I going to get to work in the story of my Pa’s frustration over George Strait?).    I’m a girl, so (obviously), I am not Bro Country. But I am very much PRO-Country.  I love ALL of it…in a depth that may not be normal.  All that to say, the disrespect got me pretty fired up.  It was like messing with my family!  You won’t walk away without a limp (….maybe that’s just my family).

So I did what any responsible single mom would do; I cashed out my 401k to produce my first record defending it making sure to break every rule (a time change? C’mom!) and include every obnoxious reference I could find (9 Things You’re Guaranteed to Hear In A Bro-Country Song …no offense Elena Sheppard).  The idea was to keep it light:  making fun of the people who make fun of it while making a little fun of it myself, too.   Annnnnd then I never released it.  Why?

Long before the world had ever heard of Maddie and Tae or Maggie Rose, it occurred to me the point wasn’t to be made with fans.  Most of you tell me you’ve never even heard of bro country!  (Which btw Cambridge Dictionary’s blog defines it as “A sub-genre of country music sung by young white men, featuring songs with macho themes such as trucks, drinking and partying.”  Or what fans generally call “hits.”) ☺

Whew.  Sidenote: I just spent an ashamedly large amount of time typing (and deleting)  regarding soapbox #1…the one that got me to write Bro Country in the first place.    I don’t have time to go there (and let’s face it, nobody wants to read a blog that long) but I am committing to later in the week elaborating on:

1.  Why fans don’t want every song to be uber-deep even if it is rich in craft.  I thank God for’em, but that’s not the songs we typically put on repeat.  We need them ALL.
2.  How, as a family, we should be celebrating with each other’s successes.  Plus, it’s rude to talk bad about your neighbor….famous or otherwise (and lastly)
3.  My (poor) songwriter friends who think they’re too good to write a bro song are crazy.

Ok.  Back to the blessing (I think I need another Blow-Pop brb).  Got it. Watermelon this time.  I’m also heating up some left-over Marco’s (pizza).  I’m sure I’ll blog later about how healthy food it a trap.

So where was I?  Yeah.  I let it go because the whole debate is stupid.  I’ve wanted to say so (as well as present the points from Soapbox #1) every time I hear someone in the industry say, “No bro country.”  Or “Bro is on the way out” but I’ve refrained…until now.  A recent road trip left me with an entirely new perspective on music and a heart so full I cannot be quiet any longer.  Here’s why:

It took a whopping 24 hours back home in Mississippi before I had this revelation. I was driving through downtown Amory, MS trying to process all I had taken in.  For those who don’t know I’m from rural northeast MS (Booneville…graduated from New Site technically which is even smaller) but have since lived in Memphis, Nashville and now Huntsville, AL.  I’ve always said, “You can’t fake small town,” but I am now convinced after my trip back home – you can forget.  

I’d forgotten what it felt like to be in a family torn apart by drugs.  Even that sounds trite, but try living in it?  Try living with abusive parents or a spouse because you don’t have a way out.  Try losing everything you’ve got only to find you’re now responsible for someone else’s kid because their parents are too incapacitated to care for them.  And you have no idea how you’re going to pay the power bill.

To have cancer and no insurance.  To be told you’re “inoperable.”  To learn your husband is cheating, but you’re a stay-at-home mom to your disabled child living with his parents and nowhere to go.   To lose a child who was just starting to raise his own family.  To be the dad who’s – by the grace of God – newly sober but unable to find a job because a small town doesn’t always forget.  Plus, it’s hard to get to work out in the country with no license…and it’s hard to pay your fines to get your license with no work.

Can you put yourself any one of those situations?  Artists, that’s the kind of stuff your fans are dealing with!  These are real people with real lives whose pain runs deep.  For many the only good time they will know that day is the 3 minutes coming in through their radio, and that is a big deal.  A big deal.  Dare I say it?  Yes.  I believe it is a blessing.

There are few things in this world that can interrupt your life in such a way you forget about whatever’s dragging you down leaving you with a much-needed mental vacation.   Music is one of them.  So trust me, Mr. Music Man, when I say that country fans don’t give one rip about your anti-bro-agenda, and no amount of time spent on “The Row” will ever qualify you for having your pulse on small town life or what makes us feel good/alive again??  These concepts may seem simple-minded to many of you, but it still sounds like a dang good time to many of the rest of us.  

Should we branch out?  Yes please (I love you Sam Hunt)!  But the sales have spoken, and like it or not bro is relevant.  “Cruise” and “That’s My Kind of Night” were #1 how many weeks?  There’s a reason for that.  As a fan we depend on artists, not just relating to us, but to be a voice for us.  

Life is hard.  Jesus may be the answer, but music may be the Band-Aid.  Bowing down to industry pressure might make you politically correct, but it will not make you a hero.  Only touching lives does that….and sometimes those lives just want to drink a beer and chill.

Can’t we all just be PRO-Country?  I think we could and should.  There’s power in that which benefits us all.  See Mark 3:25 KJV.

#brocountry #PROcountry 
#PROcountry #brocountry

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