Collin Raye, who had a fair number of country hits in the 1990s, suspects that the genre is now essentially played out:
[A]s someone who grew up loving and being forever affected by the true greats of country music, I simply have to offer up this plea to the Nashville country music industry to reclaim the identity and poetic greatness that once was our format. The well-written poetic word of the country song has disappeared.
There appears to be not even the slightest attempt to “say” anything other than to repeat the tired, overused mantra of redneck party boy in his truck, partying in said truck, hoping to get lucky in the cab of said truck, and his greatest possible achievement in life is to continue to be physically and emotionally attached to the aforementioned truck as all things in life should and must take place in his, you guessed it … truck.
I could throw some dime-store psychology in here, to the effect that since nobody can afford to buy a house anymore, a guy’s single largest purchase is his truck, and therefore that which is truck-related is uppermost in his mind. This is, of course, easily refuted by the fact that no one sang about partying and/or hoping to get lucky in a tract house, back in the days when even I could afford one.
Of course, the operative word in “party boy” is “boy.” The Friar, however, imputes comparable guilt to the girls as well:
[T]he ladies have their own share of guilt, with nearly every female singer or female-led act now supplying their albums with at least one sluts-in-boots track a la 2004’s “Redneck Woman” from Gretchen Wilson. And the boots better be paired with a spectacular set of gams shown off in cutoffs.
For the obligatory counterexample, I offer you Rosanne Cash’s freshly squeezed The River & The Thread, which includes a track titled “When the Master Calls the Roll.” Cash turned 59 today, which may explain why this example came to mind so quickly. If you stay past the final chord, you’ll learn this: Cash wrote this song with her current husband, John Leventhal, and with her previous husband, Rodney Crowell. Neither of those guys is much on bro-in-a-truck stuff.