Nashville Rag

Music City inspires songs of love and (mostly) hate.

While Larry Cordle's "Murder on Music Row" has become an unlikely C&W hit, songs about Nashville's musical pitfalls are nothing new. Over the years, a handful of artists have penned songs protesting the town's evil ways -- all in vain, unfortunately. Here are some of our favorites:

"Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" by Waylon Jennings. The most famous Nashville-sucks song of all time, released in 1975. One of country's staunchest outlaws raises a question that continues to nag Williams's musical ancestors.

"Fuck This Town," by Robbie Fulks. The funniest (and foulest) anti-Nashville tune ever, from Fulks's astounding South Mouth. "This ain't country-Western/it's just soft-rock feminist crap," he sings, "And I thought they'd struck bottom/Back in the days of Ronnie Milsap."

"If That's Country," by Robbie Fulks and Dallas Wayne. From Wayne's new Big Thinkin' collaboration with Fulks. A hilarious stab at industrial-strength twang, Chris Gaines (aka Garth Brooks) and more: "You can make a star of a teenage girl/But one million dollars won't make her Merle."

"Nashville Rash," by Dale Watson. Music City's current malady leaves one of country's best traditionalists "too country now for country/Just like Johnny Cash." From Watson's Cheatin' Heart Attack.

"Nashville Bum," by Waylon Jennings. A brilliant insider tune (from the soundtrack of Jennings's film Nashville Rebel) that details the glories of royalty theft, invisible fame and subsistence on ketchup soup. Covered by Webb Wilder on his excellent Town & Country.

"Cumberland River," by Dan Baird. This ex-Georgia Satellites country cruncher tells of "Nashville's empty promise," a town where "they lock you up for guitar and tin cup/ Since they opened that Hard Rock Cafe." Off Baird's new Buffalo Nickel.

"Greetings From Nashville," by Jason and the Scorchers. America's original cowpunks stomp through Tim Krekels's 1986 Nash-basher. With "big lawsuits and bathroom toots," Jason Ringenberg snarls, "we're all gettin' Dixie-fried."

"Nashville Casualty & Life," by Kinky Friedman. Penned in 1972, the Kinkster's lament shatters the myth of the street-corner crooner rising to the top of the heap. "Just a Nashville casualty and life/It's a riff that's hard to play."

"The Death of Country Music," by the Waco Brothers. These country rule-breakers cover ex-Mekon Jon Langford's ode to a genre's demise. "The bones of country music/Lie there in their casket/Beneath the towers of Nashville/In a black pool of neglect."

 
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