12 June 2008

Country Girls Are Doin' It For Themselves

Honestly, I'm a law-abiding citizen (well, if you ignore that whole speeding thing back on the interstate as I am known to be a bit of a lead foot)...really, I am. And while I grew up 'country', I like to try and convince myself that I'm beyond that whole 'eye for a eye, tooth for a tooth', 'the man rules the house', 'the women don't speak out' mentality that sometimes permeates rural culture. That whole 'gun rack with loaded guns in the back window of someone's truck just in case one needs it' kind of thing. Sometimes, though, I will hear a song that just takes me right back to the days of my youth and that whole scene...and reminds me of people who survived (and eventually got away from) horrible conditions in the best ways they knew how, and how some unfortunately choose to stay in those horrible conditions even today.

That said, I have to admit I'm a sucker for the whole 'country girl done wrong and gonna get even' genre that seems to be so red-hot within country music right now. The songs generally are on the rockier side for me which is good, even if I didn't know people who have struggled through some of the same issues. Country has always had a large female following, but this 'not being a victim' theme has really got some legs now. (And credit for its popularity should be given to Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats", Martina McBride's "Independence Day", and even the much-ballyhooed and semi-controversial airing of the video for (at the time, anyway) "The Thunder Rolls" by Garth Brooks, among so many others.) Make no mistake: these are not the songs of 'the little women' so popular in country music in 1960s, 1970s, and even somewhat in the 1980s; instead, today's female country singers are empowered and non-repentant about any potential fallout. A sign of the bigger culture, perhaps.

This latest contribution to Country Girl Power, a little rocker from Miranda Lambert, is called "Gunpowder and Lead", and has been bouncing around in my head for a couple of weeks now. And while I never believe in settling anything with violence, I know I'm one of many, many women who have known abused women and friends who were just itching for a day of payback. This is surely the theme song for some of them.

Miranda Lambert performing "Gunpowder and Lead" on CBS' "Early Show", 2008. Sorry, folks, there's a bit of lead-in from the show until the 2:00 mark. Video from YouTube.

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