pistol-annies-miranda[1]

Bob Lefsetz Thinks Everybody Should Listen To Average Country Music!

In which Bob possibly sets a new personal record for equivocation by heaping boatloads of mitigating praise on Pistol Annies, the country supergroup comprised of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley.

Too many people who would like this album will never hear it.

You’ve just described a good portion of nearly everybody’s music collection.

You see country is the new rock and roll. Or, more accurately, the old rock and roll.

Bob, the time to correct yourself is before you hit “Publish.”

But it’s wrapped up in so much ass-kissing right wing family values bullshit that there’s a wall through which the music doesn’t penetrate, it lives in its own ghetto, happy as a pig in shit, but it could be so much more.

God forbid a style of music should reflect the lifestyle and sensibilities of its audience instead of Bob’s.

I don’t want to say this album is fantastic, but I’ll say there’s not one moment when you want to pick up the needle and trash it.

He’s right. It’s a decent album with mostly intelligent but unremarkable songs, low-key with just enough sass to keep you interested, and well performed and produced in the way that virtually everything in Nashville is.

And then you hang in there long enough to hear winners like “Boys From The South” and “Family Feud”.

“Family Feud’s” probably the best thing on there, but “Takin’ Pills” is much better than “Boys From The South.”

The boys all wear cowboy hats and the girls wear cowboy boots and it’s so inauthentic you want to dismiss it out of hand.

That’s right, folks. A Jew from Connecticut who worships The Eagles is now the arbiter of what’s authentic in country music. Now I can’t stop thinking about Robbie Fulks’ Countrier Than Thou.

Just listen to Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy”, especially the long guitar instrumental. If Jerry Garcia were still alive he’d be asking Keith to sit in.

Good guitar solos in country music? Whoever would have thought that could happen?

And Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder & Lead” rocks harder than the work of the Brooklyn shoegazers.

Sorry, Bob, but “shoegazers” hasn’t been used to describe a band since the mid-90s.  Brooklyn wasn’t even in the equation back then.

Whatever. You’re using songs that are about five years old to make a point about how country music is now either the new and old rock n’ roll.

But too many people don’t hear this music.

Except for the 43,000,000 country records that were sold in 2010.

And then there are albums like this, collections that hang together but are minus the radio showstoppers.

So why are you complaining that not enough people are going to hear a consistently average album?

But it’s albums like this that make us fans, make us want to go see the act live, make us want to hear what the act is up to next.

But the album’s not fantastic.

And I can’t stop listening to Pistol Annies. Because they’re not working hard to convince me they’re the shit, because they’re not banging me over the head to pay attention.  Sure, there’s the hype in newspapers, the glitzy website, but they’re just obscuring the music, this is good music.

There’s a lot of hype, but they’re not trying to get me to listen to the album.

You could go to the gig and let your mind drift, tap your feet a bit, leave feeling like you got something you couldn’t get anywhere else, that you weren’t an endless cog in the money machine.

How do you know? They haven’t performed a gig yet. Why don’t we wait until a tour is announced and see how much tickets are going to cost before you make that assumption.

And we’re also talking about a full-priced album comprised of 10 songs that clocks in at just over 30 minutes, but you’re not getting ripped off at all.

The single is “Hell On Heels”. It’s good, but doesn’t live up to its initial promise. Starts off all swampy and moody, a slowed-down country “Gimmie Shelter”, then great harmonies and a good change, but it’s just a bit too sing-songy, not quite memorable enough, in other words, the song doesn’t go anywhere.

It’s like one of the most awesome songs in rock history, except slower, quieter, and you forget it once it’s over.

But I love the aforementioned “Boys From The South”. It’s got the country intimacy of Neil Young’s “Harvest”, albeit without the attitude.

Two in a row! Bob pulls off the unthinkable, the Double It’s-Like-Something-You-Know-But-It’s-Not. Don’t try that at home, kids. Bob’s a professional.

It’s an aural movie, a great antidote to the two-dimensional crap being forced down our throat.

It sounds to me like they just wrote a song where they mentioned every southern state in the hopes of getting airplay there.

And “Family Feud” may seem like an outtake from a Dixie Chicks album, but is that such a bad thing? The Chicks spoke the truth and for that they were excommunicated?

You just complained that country music is too right-wing, and now you’re shocked that right-wingers took offense to one of its top acts saying that they’re ashamed to be from the same state as Bush?

Are we really so big on Bush and Iraq and Afghanistan these days?

These days? That was over eight years ago.

Polls say otherwise. But ain’t that America, the knee-jerk reaction, the drawing of lines when we’re really all in it together.

You were just describing everybody who listens to mainstream country with a broad stereotype and now you’re saying we’re all in it together?

And the dirty little secret is those on the margins of both the left and right have a lot in common. They’re both disillusioned with the government, mad at corporations, could what happened in the Middle East happen here?

Nope.

Yup.

Dammit!

If we come together instead of fighting while the bad men make all the money.

There’s no reason left wing liberals can’t eat up Pistol Annies.

If liberals listened to average country music, then all of America’s problems will go away.

And although the trappings might lean right, the music here is positively dead center. We’ve all got problems, we’re all trying to get along. That’s what Pistol Annies are singing about.

Coastal liberal elitists can easily relate to “The Hunter’s Wife” and “Trailer For Rent.”

And the music is no secret if you’re a country fan, Miranda Lambert is a star.

Ah, yes. Miranda. Forget bridging the cultural divide. Here’s the real reason why Lefsetz wants us to listen to something so thoroughly average. Let’s dig deep into the Lefsetz archives, shall we?

And what’s up with Miranda? With her legs spread, daring you to come up and take her! She’s showing all her attitude, all her sexiness. She’s positively FANTASTIC! And are you hearing that ripping guitar? She’s lost all pretense. She’s singing just like you in front of the mirror. She’s LETTING GO! If you don’t think this is rock and roll, you don’t know what rock and roll IS!

Oh, are you catching her thrusting her head? Back and forth? Better than, more natural than, anybody on “Dancing With The Stars”? That was fucking GREAT!

Is Lisa Loeb jealous or relieved that she’s no longer the subject of Bob’s affections?

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  • http://thesixonefournine.com/ judd6149

    I look forward to these Lefsetz smackdowns…

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Thanks, Judd. I’m just hoping my head doesn’t explode from doing them.

  • http://twitter.com/MattSpringer Matt Springer

    Is he a hayseed wannabe, or an armchair Arkansan? Strike that–this guy is total hillbilly dilettante. 

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    In fairness, I agree with his overall point, that country is where you can still find an emphasis on narrative and performance and those other things that were once a part of mainstream rock. But then why doesn’t he point us to the best stuff instead of telling us about a competent album by a trio that gives him a raging chubby?

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    And no, I did not think to call this article, “Bob Lefsetz Has A Raging Chubby For Pistol Annies!”

    Although I wish I did.

  • KatC

    I agree. If he is trying to support the point that country is like old-school rock and roll, he should have discussed a band that is outstanding, rather than one whose singer he has a crush on. I see what point Bob is trying to make, but I don’t think he is going about it very effectively. He is coming off as too combative to actually grab the interest of non-country music fans in a positive way. 

  • Thecpond

    forgive me but not sure what’s going on in these posts. are you dicecting another writters publications? are you guys that hard up to come up with something good you have to now comment on someone else’s work? weird. someone needs to clarify.

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    I will begin by clarifying that you meant “dissecting.”

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Jeff, I think someone else needs a punctuation monkey.

  • http://www.popdose.com Anonymous

    I think Peter King and Bob Lefsetz would get along like two peas in a pod.

  • http://www.popdose.com Anonymous

    I think Peter King and Bob Lefsetz would get along like two peas in a pod.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    I picture them bonding over a discussion of famous people they’ve met.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    I picture them bonding over a discussion of famous people they’ve met.

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    And Starbucks!

  • Danny Yau

    Yes. Love it. More Lefsetz smack downs. So many people take what he says as gospel. He has good points…but geez, he gets it wrong 9 times out of 9.000001

  • http://popdose.com Anonymous

    Because for Bob, the most important thing is selling as many records NOW over anything else. And Lambert has a track record, therefore he doesn’t need to use as many calories to promote an average supergroup and maybe have them sell some additional records than it would be to pimp a really great country band on the margins. The margins? You don’t sell records on the margins!

    It’s the hypocritical Lefsetz mantra: work your ass off, build your base over a decade organically, and maybe you’ll be able to put out an album that reaches the lower regions of the chart–then I’ll dismiss you because you have no traction while I knob-gobble these country music superstars!

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    I can’t wait until King tries to convince Lefsetz to take the Acela to one of his skiing trips.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    I can’t wait until King tries to convince Lefsetz to take the Acela to one of his skiing trips.

  • http://popdose.com Anonymous

    How about this: Bob has a certain following/power in the music industry (or what’s left of it). He writes a lot about it. Most of what he writes are opinion pieces. Also, most of what he writes is un-thought out crap that is often contradictory and needs to be exposed for the ridiculousness it is. This is what Mr. Lifton is doing, and (with the exception of portions of his first attempt at it) he’s been doing it very well.

    There are whole websites set up to dissecting the work of other writers, shows, movies, networks, etc. It is called criticism, and it has existed as a form of writing for centuries. It is also especially necessary in a world both overrun by media and information and with a medium like the internet in which anyone can spout off an opinion. Those who spout off ridiculous nonsense need to be taken to task. Since truth is the best defense against nonsense, you should consider what Mr. Lifton (and by extension Popdose) is doing here to be a good–quite opposite from them being “hard up”.

    Clear enough?

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Don’t worry, Matt. I’ll get to the “Top 40 is dead, so I’m going to ignore everything but Top 40″ conundrum when the time comes.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Good job, Matt. But I would have gone with the more concise, “I like to make fun of big, fat blowhards because I’m also one.”

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Good job, Matt. But I would have gone with the more concise, “I like to make fun of big, fat blowhards because I’m also one.”

  • http://popdose.com Anonymous

    I wouldn’t say you’re THAT fat, Dave.

  • Debra Hofland

    How about an interview with country artist Charlie Allen on his recent song
    “Grandpa’s Recipe” ?  
    Listen to this!   http://www.charlieallenmusic.com/index.htm