21: Gone Country

21: Gone Country

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

Gone Country

Story by Bob McDill

Song written by Bob McDill

Recorded by Alan Jackson

The people in that song were a composite of real people that I have had lunch or drinks with in Nashville who said the kinds of things that are in the song: all these weak, thinly veiled excuses for moving to Nashville. The only people that said, “That was really neat” were other songwriters.

Some of the other things were made up, and some of it was just obvious cultural bias on my part.

I’ve met people like the fellow from L.A. in the song who was “schooled in voice and composition,” and I’ve heard over and over that “L.A. is no place for children.”

The song was pitched around town and most people were afraid of it. Didn’t want to make fun of those Yankees, you know. I’ve always heard it said that we southerners on Music Row are afraid to make fun of people from New York and L.A. just because nearly everything on Music Row is now owned by people in New York and L.A. But I prefer to think it’s just good manners. We love to make fun of ourselves, yet we rarely make fun of people outside of the South.

Dan Hill, my publisher at the time, took the song to Alan Jackson and he loved it. But that’s why he’s had such an incredible career, because he calls his own shots, and does what he wants to do, and that’ll pay off for you in the long run.

Alan introduced the song at the CMA Awards and I think some of the people in the audience were pretty flabbergasted. I’m talking about some of the country singers!

After that, radio stations started playing it off the CD before it was even released. I think it charted before it was ever even released. That almost never happens.

A friend of mine is a dentist and he has Alan as a patient. One time he said to Alan, “That ‘Gone Country’ was a pretty interesting song. Do you think all those industry people recognized that the song is poking fun at them?”

Alan said, “Nah, all they heard was, ‘he’s gone country. Look at them boots.’”

Gone Country

She’s been playin’ in a room on the strip

For ten years in Vegas

Every night she looks in the mirror

And she only ages

She’s been readin’ about Nashville and all

The records that everybody’s buyin’

Says ‘I’m a simple girl myself

Grew up on Long Island’

So she packs her bags to try her hand

Says this might be my last chance

CHORUS:

She’ gone country, look at them boots

She’s gone country, back to her roots

She’s gone country, a new kind of suit

She’s gone country, here she comes

Well the folk scene is dead

But he’s holdin’ out in the village

He’s been writin’ songs speakin’ out

Against wealth and privilege

He says “I don’t believe in money

But a man could make him a killin’

’Cause some of that stuff don’t sound

Much different than Dylan

I hear down there it’s changed you see

They’re not as backward as they used to be”

CHORUS

Well, he commutes to LA

But he’s got a house in the Valley

But the bills are pilin’ up

And the pop scene just ain’t on the rally

He says “Honey I’m a serious composer

Schooled in voice and composition

But with the crime and the smog these days

This ain’t no place for children

Lord it sounds so easy it shouldn’t take long

Be back in the money in no time at all”

Yeah he’s gone country, a new kind of walk

He’s gone country, a new kind of talk

He’s gone country, look at them boots

He’s gone country, oh back to his roots

He’s gone country

He’s gone country

Everybody’s gone country

Yeah we’ve all gone country

The whole world’s gone country

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