In recent years, the Top 40 Country Music charts have been littered with an increasing amount of songs that now fit easily into an even more specific, sickening realm of modern country music - "Bro-Country." With frat-boy bravado and an even greater emphasis on sophmoric, ignorant cliches than usual, the top Bro-Country stars such as Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan pseudo-rap about getting stoned in pastures with bonfires, fishing with a girl in a bikini-top and cut-off shorts and their unusually large trucks with speakers that thump rather robustly. Of course, employing these inane nursery rhymes has many an artist laughing all the way to the bank.
In Dallas, two of the best (possibly the two best, one could certainly argue) country and roots acts will share the same stage for a rare double bill. The O's and 1100 Springs will perform together Friday night on the sprawling beer-garden patio of Love and War in Texas in Grapevine. Given the manner in which these two acts couldn't be further from the REO Speedwagon-meets-Sugarhill Gang feel of the average Bro-Country act, we thought it appropriate to quiz John Pedigo and Taylor Young of The O's and 1100 Springs lead-man Matt Hillyer to find out just how Bro-Country they really are.
In order to formulate the most highly-scientific of quizzes, we derived our questions from a handful of the
best most hideous examples of Bro-Country songsmithing. Luke Bryan's "That's My Kind of Night," Jason Aldean's "1994," Blake Shelton's "Boys 'Round Here," Florida-Georgia Line's "Cruise" (Featuring Nelly, natch), and for a bit of regional flavor, Kevin Fowler's "How Country Are 'Ya" provided the source material for this intensely personal, vulnerable line of questioning.
No points are awarded in this quiz, because, really, no one wins in Bro-Country, as long as grown men's ballcaps are backwards while forms of music other than Country blare from trucks allegedly situated near a bonfire on some poor farmer's back 40.
Do you love your Mama?
Taylor Young: Of course I do. In our kind of music, you don't have to spell everything out like you're talkin' to an 8 year old.She's the most important woman in my life. Love 'ya Mom!
John Pedigo: Yes. Wait, are you talking about my mom?
Matt Hillyer: Why yes. And my Daddy, and Texas, and America, and Beer - in that order.
Can you "whoop up some gravy"?
TY: I choose to go to AllGood Cafe and order a Chicken Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes with corn and peppers to get my gravy fix.
JP: How's that?
MH: Let me put it this way, if I had to wrassle some gravy, the gravy would need to to bring a sack lunch for the whooping I'd give it, because it would last all day long.
Do you have that real-good, feel-good stuff under your big black jacked-up truck?
TY: I have a SUV. It's black and made by the Japanese with a Honda engine. Do I wish I had hydraulics on on it? Sure I do.
JP: I drive a pretty sweet, well dented Honda Element. Yeah, Engine came stock. We're talking 4 cyls.
MH: No, I went with the double-wide, chicken-fried stuff.
Do you lay a fine woman down to "love her right" only after she's caught a catfish for dinner?
TY: I don't think my woman's much for Noodlin'. But now that you brought it up, I guess I should ask?
JP: My wife doesn't eat bottom feeders. After eating supper, we (currently) watch Friday Night Lights.
MH: It goes like this: first we go noodlin' to catch the fish. Then we go muddin' on the way home. Then we get on that black-top back in our old hometown. Then she cooks the fish with home made gravy like Grandma used to make. Then I lay her down.
How often do you invoke the name of a mid-1990's country star while rapping?
TY: I don't think it's been done yet in an O's tune. But I'll make a deal with 50 or Dre if they want to swap some lyrics
JP: The chances of doing that soon are strong to quite strong.
MH: How many times has Tracy Byrd done the Watermelon crawl?
How often do you cruise in a car with windows down while Nelly blares from your speakers (on a backroad, preferably)?
TY: This isn't related to the question, but, have you heard the new FL-GA LINE song? They rap all by their own dang selves, and do pretty well.
JP: I grew up here in the EDT, so not many backroads other than the one heading to the FOE or the "Point" (Woodrow circa late 1990s).
MH: Only when I'm dying from a broken heart do I ride that old gravel road in Grandpa's truck with the speakers goin' boom boom.
Does your Chevy have a lift kit?
TY: My Isuzu Trooper doesn't, but I'll take one as long as it lifts me over speed bumps.
JP: We've rented Chevy Equinoxes for tours before (yeah, our band is small and we travel light). Budget and Avis doesn't have the lift option unfortunately. Only satellite radio preview channels.
MH: Is that a trick question? Everbody knows Dodge is the best. Hell, I even got a sticker on the back windshield of Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes taking a leak on the Ford and Chevy emblems to prove it!
Do you take any lip?
TY: I've already got too much. They called me "fish lips" in elementary school.
JP: Is this part of the next question?
MH: No sir. I also don't take any sass or guff.
Do you chew tabacco, chew tabacco, then spit, ordo you chew tobacco, spit, then chew more tobacco?
TY: Yeah, I like Tabasco.
JP: I know! Let's go fishing in the dark, way down yonder in a Chatahoochie where the thunder rolls and we can stick our toes in the water and life will be so good (today), and we'll be all like, "Welcome to the future," you know, and, like, totally listen to flawless remakes of now classic new country songs like "Life is a Highway" and "Wagon Wheel," while debating who is Bigger and/or Richer and then we can talk about people not amounting to much by the sizes of their (respective) little trucks all the while sipping out of red solo cups, because, like, beer is good, God is great, and like, you know, people are crazy.
MH: I don't chew or spit too much any more. Except on the porch of the general store. And only then if they got a cuspidor. And you can slap my mama if i get it on the floor. You can't hear me but I'm rapping.