Back when I first really started getting into independent country in the late aughts, most times I looked up an act’s touring schedule I found they didn’t make it out of Texas, Oklahoma, and maybe Arkansas. Didn’t do me much good in North Carolina, but at least the good people of Texas were keeping the lights on for these folks. And they still are, but the rise of independent country over the last decade has been extraordinary. Country radio is still putridly awful on a historic level, but radio matters less than it ever did.
Just here recently, independent country has started taking it to a whole new level. Remarkably, artists on independent labels lacking radio play are getting singles certified gold or platinum—five of the former and two of the latter by my count. I already featured Tyler Childer’s two gold songs, Lady May and Whitehouse Road, back in 2019. The two platinum songs will have to wait for next week.
First up, Ballad of a Southern Man by Southern rockers Whiskey Myers. The YouTube video dates back to 2011 and this was the first of these songs I got turned on to. It hasn’t gotten the least bit old in the interim.
I ain’t gonna get all hipster about it, but the no movements, no trends sentiment fits me to a tee. I don’t love this song or the over four because they are certified gold, I love them because they are damn good songs. Plenty of people agree. And Jinks pays homage here to the original fusion of hippies and cowboys in Texas that birthed outlaw country.
Whiskey Myers has the final song featured here (you could argue this is a story of Jinks, Childers, and Whiskey Myers, but there is a host of independent artists close behind them, even if they haven’t broken that certified gold barrier). In case you think Whiskey Myer ought not count because they do Southern rock, I’ve included an acoustic recording of Stone.
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 I can’t talk about this song, with its line “pledge my allegiance the original way,” without noting that “under God” was added at Eisenhower’s urging during our cold war against godless, murderous communism. I prefer the revised version to pledging my allegiance the original way.