Country Music's Other Voice: The Making of "Takin' My Country Back"

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT

A group of Nashville music industry professionals, calling themselves the Honky Tonkers for Truth, decided it was time that a country song take issue with Presidential policy, (much like Darryl Worley's, Have You Forgotten and Toby Keith's, Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue speak in favor of it). They had no problem finding a hit-songwriter, a professional studio, and top-drawer session players and engineers, all who were willing to donate their talents and services and, to stand up and be counted as country music's "other voice."

What they had in a matter of days was, Takin' My Country Back, penned by David Kent (Austin by Blake Shelton and other country hits), a stone-cold country song clearly criticizing the President's record. With just a "demo vocal" of the song, they went directly to the top: Tim Dubois (President, Universal South Records); Mike Dungan (President, Capitol Records); Don Cook (Producer, Brooks & Dunn); Garth Fundis (Producer, Trisha Yearwood) for starters. Without exception, these Music Row executives loved the song. What the Honky Tonkers for Truth had on their hands was a hit...almost.

What they didn't have was a "brand name" singer willing to put his/her career on the line by singing a song with a critical message. The Honky Tonkers for Truth are comprised of successful songwriters, publishers, producers, musicians, and attorneys. Even with their combined contacts, the best they could get from the "star" country artists they queried (all self-proclaimed Democrats) was a "maybe" and then, when their managers caught wind of it, "Sorry...and good luck."

Enter, Tony Stampley, one of Nashville's most respected session singers and son of country legend, Joe Stampley. Tony's stellar performance of Takin My Country Back and his willingness, rather, his passion and enthusiasm, to be a part of country music's "other voice" inspired the Honky Tonkers for Truth to take the song directly to the world via radio, the internet, and any other means possible. Examples:

1) The lyrics of Takin' My Country Back were broadcast on the JumboTron at the Gaylord Entertainment Center as the song played to 8,000 concerned Nashville citizens who came to hear speaker/activist/filmmaker, Michael Moore, the night of October 9, 2004.

2) Acclaimed Nashville journalist/reviewer, Robert K. Oermann, wrote in Music Row Magazine (10/8/04), "The war, the economy, tax cuts for the rich, sending jobs overseas...it's all here in one cleverly written package. Yes, it's topical. But it's also a real good country record."

3) Journalist, Neil Haislop, who provides the Nashville Update for GAC (Great American Country) television network wrote, "The Honky Tonkers for Truth, a grassroots Nashville-based organization, who support the troops overseas and love this country, have released a country track that expresses their sentiments for a change in Washington."

4) At this writing, the website: www.TakinMyCountryBack.com has been up for ten days. (Alas, it seems to be down now.) It's had 90,000 hits to date.

5) 30 and 60 second radio spots featuring the song Takin' My Country Back are playing now on selected country radio stations and can be downloaded for free at our website.

6) The ASSOCIATED PRESS featured Takin' My Country Back in the 10/13/04 edition of The AP Morning Prep. They service SIX THOUSAND radio stations.

The Honky Tonkers for Truth support our troops overseas, believe in family, faith and freedom, and deeply love this country. What we disagree with is, the image and the misconception that all people in the country music industry support the current administration. For those who differ with our opinion, we respect your right to speak freely, defend your position, and express yourself because, we believe in the rights provided to ALL of us by The First Amendment. So far, there has been nothing on country radio to reflect our sentiment and, there are millions of country music lovers who feel the same way we do. All we're asking for is EQUAL TIME on the airwaves. To hear this brave song free of charge, go to: www.TakinMyCountryBack.com

The Honky Tonkers for Truth welcome inquiries and interviews by any and all members of the media. Contact: info@TakinMyCountryBack.com

Nashville-based activist Kim Webber is a proud member of Music Row Democrats.

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From the Tennessee Socialist Party:

"Thursday, October 21, 2004
COUNTRY FANS: WERE TAKIN' OUR COUNTRY BACK!

"They thought they had us ...

"They took religion, sports and cars, and were heaven-bent on takin' our country music. For awhile they were shittin' out nationalist pop-hymns from Lee Greenwood to Toby Keith.

"A coven of big-biz corporate suits down there on music row was workin' the formulas, churnin' out pre-fab songs for ruggedly okay white dudes in hats. Keepin' it simple, wavin' the flag, steering hard to the right.

"But they'd left a huge chunk of their business, a whole buncha of us who like our rock shelves rounded out with everything from some classical, maybe some new-age internationale, but a big chunck of "country," folk-rock, shorn of that Nashvegas canned-pop wall o' sound. Those who write about Music Inc., do love their genre labels. Some spoke of "Americana," others, "roots-folk," and the downright terrrifying moniker of "cow-punk" -- think "rockabilly" and then some.

"It's smacks of "hell with trends" approach to drawing from the breadth of American musical traditions. From the upbeat Gaelic sounds, with drone, that hails from Mountain and Bluegrass traditions to the old-west traditions -- the "swing" of Kansas, Oklahoma, even some o' Texas, with a Hank-cum-Merle "lonesome whipoorwhill" twang-vocal with simple rhythm throughout. The stuff Gram Parsons took to new heights while he took himself to new heights. Two verses, a chorus, maybe a bridge, with an obligatory fiddle or pedal-steel solo.

"Yep. Thought they'd trademark deep-croonin', boot-scootin' twang-songs and leave it to the goat-ropers. Uh-uh. This here music sings the hopes n' dreams, bitches n' moans, and longings and cryings of white, wage-class Americans. And a whole lotta other'ns, too.

"And they ain't all stupid, hell, not by far. Not stupid enough to goosestep to talk radio. Not stupid enough to fall for a fake good-ol'-boy, even if it wears a flight suit. And ain't nobody gonna piss on my Dixie-Chicks, Steve Earle, Drive-By-Truckers parade.

"That's why some hard-workin' guys n' gals called the Honky Tonkers For Truth gave us a country anthem to leave Lee Greenwood in a forgotten spin zone:"

The Lyrics

TAKIN' MY COUNTRY BACK

country music's got mamas and daddys
we got bar rooms and old heartbreak songs
but i 'm here today to stand up and say
how i feel about my home sweet home
what's left, what's right and what's wrong... and

iím takiní my country back
son, you ain't been doiní her right
oh i been watchiní you and i donít like
how you've been treatiní my stars and stripes
you took our jobs and sent Ďem overseas
now we owe billions to the red chinese
you blew the budget and you botched iraq
so iím takiní my country back

we had a bundle in the treasury drawer
more than there had ever been before
but every day we're drownin' deeper in debt
maybe four years should be all you get
then you gave tax breaks to the millionaires
and tried to make the workiní man pay
but you canít tax a man when his jobs not there
now look at where we are todayÖhey

iím takiní my country back
son, you ain't been doiní her right
oh i been watchiní you and i donít like
how you've been treatiní my stars and stripes
you got too many fancy friends for me
the saudis treat you like you're royalty
you blew the budget and you botched iraq
now iím takiní my country back

now i can understand why you were hot
'cause bin laden never did get caught
so you said we had saddam to blame
tried to tell us it was all the same
but now the years roll by and our kids keep dyin'
you don't even have a plan to bring 'em home
and those w.m.d. you promised on t.v.
hey admit it, you figured it wrong... so i'm takin' my country back

now you donít know my name, but you know who i am
i'm your everyday work hard, play hard
raise kids and pray hard common man....
and lord knows i love this land...that's why

iím takiní my country back
son, you ain't been doiní her right
oh i been watchiní you and i donít like
how you've been treatiní my stars and stripes
you say "unite" but you divide us more
cussin' each other on the senate floor
ain't we supposed to be above all that ?
hey iím takiní my country back
i got my family and my church and flag...
now i'm takin' my country back

"Now -- all they need is some airplay. This is damn-good song with all the makins' of a hit. If "Takin' My Country Back" was conservatively correct, it'd be a hit for any number of hit acts. Randy Travis would salivate for a song this good. "Airplay, at least by old Nashvegas standards, might be hard to come by in a local music biz that often goes limp when the Right launches heat rounds. Anyone who felt threatened by the Dixie Chicks just might tremble at the sentiments of "Takin' My Country Back." A top-bucks label exec willing to go out on a limb would be wise to jump on this song."
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Don't know that they ever did, but here is the song (thanks very very much, KXXT, for putting it online-- the original site seems to have gone down.

I'm Takin My Country Back (mp3)


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