Me Crossing the Mason-Dixon Line last summer on my AT Thru-Hike
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my backwoods, down home attitude pokes through every “now n ‘gain”. I find myself at work regularly dropping the, “How y’all doin’” introduction. Keep in mind that I work for a well-to-do organization in downtown Chicago. All things considered, I’ve tabled a lot of my hillbilly mentality thinking it uncouth to demonstrate where my roots lie. But now I can’t think of a better time to just let it all hang out. And if you don’t like it, you all can kiss my rebel dick.
I’ve prided myself in my upbringing. A lot of it comes from a family-centered lifestyle. Love of ma n pa and my two bros allowed me to stay true to who I am and take pride in knowing that I come from a family worth talking about. The family was tight and we always had a solid homestead from which to strike a deep breadth from. There is very few instances that I can think of that make me whence at a poor or untidy upbringing.
All things aside, I’m not here to talk about good cuntry livin’ or a pickin’ an a grinnin’ on the front porch. I digress; my real passion comes from my slight knowledge of music and opinions therein. Pull up a barl n sit a spell. I guess this might not be the best audience to toss judgment at but then again, when or what is.
Society has a common misconception about southern people and the lifestyle, cooking, family life and music that it encompasses. My own wife, born and raised mostly in Chicago (who considers herself worldly) has her own view of those of us bred south of the Mason-Dixon. Her ideas stem from what one is expected to hear or understand coming from a city of over three million living in their own tide of bigotry and discrimination from one neighborhood to the next stemming from every stretch of the world.
I challenge you though to show me a dedicated southern rooted neighborhood within the city limits of Chicago and I’ll take a shit on it. Her first-hand experience is limited to the Fort Benning, Georgia and Fort Bragg, North Carolina locale and has nothing to show for it more than what any suburban sprawled neighborhood would project on any given day. The real South can’t (or maybe won’t) be shown on television and stays far away from the public eye.
The Call of the Wildman, Duck Dynasty or Honey-Boo-Boo lifestyle doesn’t even scratch the surface and is just as insulting as showing a Jap with squinty eyes and bucked teeth. Horry Cow! Let that sink in…
I’m still stalling at the purpose at hand. I’ve been listening loud n proud to Old Crow Medicine Show since I saw them boys livin it up on the stage at Bonnaroo in 2011. I did my homework, got good with where they were from and what they do, but I still cain’t wrap m’head ‘round it. This may be a shot in the dark, but I look at ‘em and feel like they’re the bluegrass equivalent to Green Day.
Sellin’ out yer roots to make a dollar. Granted, everyone wants to get paid, especially in the music business. But do you have to give up on roots to dive into a package of easy girls, fast money and a festival circuit? Nope, and here’s why:
My brother – God rest his soul – was born in Atlanta, Georgia (so was I, East Point) and he was a firm believer in keeping the backwoods in the back woods. Think about his four-wall house after moving to Opelika, Alabama with five acres complete with a still down yonder by the crick. The lifestyle was local (obviously because the nearest neighbor was something more that just a 50-foot walk) and the music that accompanied it was as local if not more. Life was simple. I can see Old Crow strummin’ and drummin’ in similar conditions in ol Virginny.
I like their message, I really do; but I’ll be goddamned if I’m gonna sit here and think that this transgression should go unnoticed. Just like Green Day took a huge dump on the California punk underground in the ‘90s just to get their bullshit mugs on MTV, so did OCMS jump on a whirlwind festival circuit of buying into the public trust and speaking of that which should not be talked about. Keep it on the dirt roads and out in the woods, far from prying eyes.
What I don’t like is the throngs of hippies on the Appalachian Trail last year smelling worse than patchouli (yes, that smell does exist) twanging away on a uke singing shit-housed renditions of “Wagon Wheel” just cuz it has that beat poet, Bobby Dylan air about it. Those fuckers ruined it for the rest of us driven thru-hikers with their shitless lay-about mentality adding depth to the term “hiker trash”. All things considered, I’m a fan of Old Crow. But I have a real problem with their “fans”.
Do you really think festival-going hipsters really want to sit around drinking ‘shine n yellin’ at their coon dogs in the back yard to “shut the fuck up” while the southern summer heat makes pit-stains on their work shirt? Fuck no. That was a long question, but it had to be asked. They’d rather stroke their record collections and beat each other off at the local coffee shops by bragging to their friends that they saw, “Literally every band at ‘Lolla this year.” Fuck ‘em, if that’s the audience that Old Crow wants to cater to, more power to them. Every American has their right to freedom of speech and expression. But don’t expect me to sit here and not get all excited about it.
I don’t claim to ever be the most politically correct person in the world or actually have a solid musical opinion. As a matter of fact, I try to stay true to my feelings as best as I can. It’s just a little too unfortunate that the world today limits an American from truly expressing ones real feelings in a public forum (said the guy posting his diatribe on the internet). I guess I can just sit back and let the world pass me by, but I want to see our people represented properly and I sure as fuck don’t want striped tank top-sporting shit bricks in their Toms and throw-back, wanna be Wayfarers thinking they have some stock in something they don’t know the first thing about. I say good-day, sir!