"And if you ain't into that, we don't give a damn"... really?
January 27, 2011 10:27 PM   Subscribe

What are all the country songs that make reference to the differences between country living and city living (particularly those songs mentioning the city life in a negative way)?

I'm not looking for songs that ONLY talk about country living. I want those that specifically call out differences or make light of city living.

Hank Williams Jr., "A Country Boy Can Survive": And you only get mugged if you go downtown
Rhett Akins, "Kiss My Country Ass": Don't wear no fancy clothes / No ties or three piece suits
Luke Bryan, "Country Man": A city boy can't do the things I can
Trace Adkins, "Ladies Love Country Boys": Her daddy wore a tie / Momma never fried a chicken
John Denver, "Thank God I'm a Country Boy": City folk driving in a black limousine / A lot of sad people thinking that's mighty keen
Alan Jackson, "Where I Come From": I don't know about that accent son / Just where do you come from
Alan Jackson, "Gone Country": But with the crime and the smog these days / This ain't no place for children

I didn't realize until I previewed how almost all of these actually have "country" in the title somewhere.
posted by educatedslacker to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Lyin' Eyes (Eagles):

City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
A rich old man
And she won't have to worry
She'll dress up all in lace and go in style

posted by amtho at 10:29 PM on January 27, 2011

"Bloody Mary Morning" by William Nelson. "Just a country boy who's learning that the pitfalls of the city are extremely real / All the night life and parties, temptation and deceit the order of the day."
posted by chrchr at 10:45 PM on January 27, 2011

"Night Rider's Lament" - Chris LeDoux. I'm disappointed I can't find the original on the youtubes. A few remakes are there, Garth Brooks' is close.

"Not Everybody Likes Us" - Hank Williams III
"They Couldn't Understand My Cowboy Songs" - Chris LeDoux
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:47 PM on January 27, 2011

Merle Haggard - Big City
posted by birdherder at 10:58 PM on January 27, 2011

Johnny Cash, "Orange Blossom Special": "Ain't you worried about getting your nourishment in New York?"/ "Well, I don't care if I do-die-do-die-do-die-do-die."
Loretta Lynn, "You're Looking at Country": You don't see no city when you look at me/ 'Cause a country is all I am
posted by hydrophonic at 11:00 PM on January 27, 2011

How country are you looking for? 'Cause Jonathan Richman has a song called City Vs. Country, and it's real sweet.

"I want to live close to downtown to be near my friends
I want to be close to them,
And still be out by the trees and the wind
Havin' both will be hard to find I'm sure,
But then ain't that the way of the world,
I want the city but I want the country too."

posted by brisquette at 11:08 PM on January 27, 2011

Dolly Parton, "Mama, Say A Prayer"
posted by Sara C. at 11:19 PM on January 27, 2011

Wait...no one has mentioned Rhinestone Cowboy?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:27 PM on January 27, 2011

You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma David Frizzell & Shelly West
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:47 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Streets of Baltimore, especially by Gram Parsons.
posted by Tiresias at 1:08 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not sure if she counts as country, but "Dig me a hole" by Dawn Landes is exactly about this.
posted by nomis at 2:23 AM on January 28, 2011

Guy Clark - L.A. Freeway

"Pack up all your dishes.
Make note of all good wishes.
Say goodbye to the landlord for me.
That son of a bitch has always bored me.
Throw out them LA papers
And that moldy box of vanilla wafers.
Adios to all this concrete.
Gonna get me some dirt road back street"

posted by oneaday at 2:46 AM on January 28, 2011

"New York City's Killing Me"
posted by jbickers at 3:33 AM on January 28, 2011

It's hard to imagine this list without Kenny Rogers:

You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me, Lucille

In a bar in Toledo, across from the depot
On a bar stool she took off her ring
I thought I'd get closer so I walked on over
I sat down and asked her her name
When the drinks finally hit her she said I'm no quitter
But I finally quit living on dreams
I'm hungry for laughter and here ever after
I'm after what ever the other life brings

In the mirror I saw him and I closely watched him
I thought how he looked out of place
He came to the woman who sat there beside me
He had a strange look on his face
The big hands were calloused he looked like a mountain
For a minute I thought I was dead
But he started shaking his big heart was breaking
He turned to the woman and said

You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I've had some bad times, lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won't heal
You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille

After he left us I ordered more whisky
I thought how she'd made him look small
From the lights of the bar room to a rented hotel room
We walked without talking at all
She was a beauty but when she came to me
She must have thought I'd lost my mind
I couldn't hold her 'cos the words that he told her
Kept coming back time after time

You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I've had some bad times, lived through some sad times
This time your hurting won't heal
You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille

You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I've had some bad times lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won't heal
You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille
posted by Anitanola at 3:52 AM on January 28, 2011

Jimmie Rodgers - I've Ranged, I've Roamed, I've Traveled (I left when a kid for the City, I craved the Great White Way, but it is a place without pity, I went wrong the very first day)
posted by saladin at 4:56 AM on January 28, 2011

Blur - Country House

City dweller, successful fella
Thought to himself oops I've got a lot of money
I'm caught in a rat race terminally
I'm a professional cynic but my heart's not in it
I'm paying the price of living life at the limit
Caught up in the centuries anxiety
It preys on him, he's getting thin

posted by theraflu at 5:03 AM on January 28, 2011

It doesn't namecheck city living specifically, but John Prine's Paradise is about leaving your childhood home in the country and returning to find it changed.

And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

On the tongue in cheek side, there's Merle Haggard's Okie from Muskogee.

We don't make a party out of lovin';
We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo;
We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

posted by superfluousm at 5:09 AM on January 28, 2011

Apparently neither city or country living can teach me to close tags properly.
posted by superfluousm at 5:10 AM on January 28, 2011

Murder in the City, the Avett Brothers. "If I get murdered in the city, don't go revengin' in my name."
posted by sugarfish at 5:26 AM on January 28, 2011

We're Not the Jet Set

By a fountain back in Rome I fell in love with you
In a small cafe in Athens you said you loved me too
And it was April in Paris when I first held you close to me
Rome, Georgia, Athens, Texas and Paris, Tennessee
posted by Ideefixe at 5:45 AM on January 28, 2011

Steve Earle - Until the Day I Die

I wish I'd never seen those city lights
A sight for a country boy to see
For every one that you see shinin' bright
Another is burnin' out like me
posted by radiomayonnaise at 5:49 AM on January 28, 2011

Isn't this sort of a subtext of a large part of Charlie Daniels' discography since, oh, the mid 1980's? For example:

A Few More Rednecks
Simple Man
Payback Time

And particularly Uneasy Rider 88
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:52 AM on January 28, 2011

Big & Rich: Save a Horse [Ride a Cowboy]

Well I don't give a dang about nothing
I'm singing and Bling- Blanging
While the girls are drinking
Long necks down!
And I wouldn't trade ol' Leroy
[his horse]
or my Chevrolet for your Escalade
Or your freak parade
I'm the only John Wayne left in this town

I'd call it race baiting and homophobic, but maybe I'm overthinking it.
posted by Jorus at 5:54 AM on January 28, 2011

Rocky Top:

Well I had years of cramped up city life,
Trapped like a duck in a pen
and all I know is it's a pity life
Can't be simple again

(Rocky Top, you'll always be ... home sweet home to me ...)

Although I guess that depends on knowing that Rocky Top is rural. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:00 AM on January 28, 2011

George Strait: You Know me Better than That

I miss picnics and blue jeans and buckets of beer
Now its ballets and symphony hall
I'm in to culture clean up to my ears
It's like wearing a shoe to that's too small.
posted by chiefthe at 6:30 AM on January 28, 2011

Oh! and Conway Twitty: Tight Fittin' Jeans

She said "I married money, I'm used to wearin' pearls
But I've always dreamed of bein' just a good ol' boy's girl.
So tonight I left those crystal candle lights to live a dream,
And partner there's a tiger in these tight fittin' jeans."
posted by chiefthe at 6:33 AM on January 28, 2011

Jeez, there's practically an entire segment of country devoted to songs like this. On an iTouch so I can't link, but, off the top of my head...

Metropolis, Trace Adkins
I'm Goin' Back, Trace Adkins
Where the Green Grass Grows, Tim McGraw
Cheecotaw, Carrie Underwood
Callin' All Country Women, Christian Kane
Hilbilly Bone, Trace Adkins and Blake Shelton

Honestly, it's a fair bet that any country singer worth their cowboy hat has one of these.
posted by Tamanna at 6:38 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is a hugely popular theme in pop country music.

Tim McGraw - Where the green grass grows
Well I'm from a map dot
A stop sign on a black top
I caught the first bus I could hop from there
But all this glitter is gettin' dark
There's concrete growin' in the city park
I don't know who my neighbors are
And there's bars on the corners and bars on my heart

Jason Aldean - Hick Town
We hear folks in the city party in Martini Bars
And they like to show off in their fancy foreign cars
Out here in the boondocks we buy beer at Amoco
And crank our Kraco speakers with that country radio

Tim McGraw - Country Boys and Girls
You can have a lotta fun in a New York minute
but there's some things you can't do inside those city limits
ain't no closin' time, ain't no cover charge
just country boys and girls gettin down on the farm

Lost Trailers - Holler Back
I gotta a city folk friend in a hip-hop world
He goes by “E Diddy” but his name is Earl
Cocks his hat to the side in his grandma’s ride
Bumping nothing but bass
He says things like "Dawg, are you down with that?"
And "Don’t that fly girl got some back?"
And I feel so doggone out of place
When he says holler back when you get back home
I say the only holler back that I know
Is that holler back, in the woods
Where the country folks got it good
Home brewed, home grown, where the wild seeds get sowed
It’s a blast, from the past,
All the cowgirls shaking their sassaphras
Let out a howl if you feel like you gotta
If you wanna go on back to the holler, holler back

These are just off the top of my head.
posted by pintapicasso at 6:42 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Randy Travis - "A Better Class of Losers":
I'm getting out of this high-rise penthouse suite
Where we pretend life's rosy and sweet
I'm going back to the folks that I used to know
Where everyone is what they seems to be

And these high-class friends that you like to hang around
When they look my way they're always looking down
I'm tired of spending every dime I make
To finance this way of life I've learned to hate

I'm going back to a better class of loser
This up-town living's really got me down
I need friends who don't pay their bills on home computers
And who buy their coffee beans already ground
You think it's disgraceful that they drink three-dollar wine
But a better class of loser suits me fine

You say the grass is greener on the other side
From where I stand I can't see grass at all
And the concrete and the steel won't change the way you feel
It takes more than caviar to have a ball
Waylon Jennings - "Luckenbach Texas":
So baby, let's sell your diamond ring
Buy some boots and faded jeans and go away
This coat and tie is choking me
In your high society you cry all day
We've been so busy keepin' up with the Jones
Four car garage and we're still building on
Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of love
Conway Twitty - "Don't Call Him a Cowboy"
So you came from New York city
and you want to see the sights
You've heard all about those cowboys
and those crazy Texas nights . . .

He's the Hollywood idea
of the wild and woolly west
In his french designer blue jeans
and his custom tailored vest
You think he's the real thing
but I think you oughta know
He can't even make it through
a one night rodeo
posted by ND¢ at 7:07 AM on January 28, 2011

There is a pretty obscure early Spirit of the West song called "The Walker Spread," which is about the virtues of clean country living and possibly about having a threesome with twin sister farm girls:

I kick up my heels in the morning sun
Takin' a break from the ol' mail run
Them Walker twins they sure are fun
I've always said two's better than one

I'm from Moose Jaw and I drink Moosehead
I'm city-born but country-bred
I remember the words that my pappy said
I gotta get into that Walker Spread

If Pappy could only see me now ("What would he say, boys?")
What I done, done make him proud
A city life I coulda had instead
But I got into that Walker Spread

posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:26 AM on January 28, 2011

Green Acres theme.
posted by copperykeen at 7:36 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Long Time Gone," popularized by the Dixie Chicks
"Route," alt-country rocker by Son Volt
posted by entropicamericana at 7:47 AM on January 28, 2011

"Buttons and Bows"
posted by milk white peacock at 9:06 AM on January 28, 2011

Spanish Pipedream is another John Prine song (i.e., questionably "country")

Blow up your T.V. throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own
posted by momus_window at 10:23 AM on January 28, 2011

Dolly Parton, Tennesee Homesick Blues:

New York City ain't no kind of place
For a country girl with a friendly face
If you smile people look at you funny
They take it wrong
posted by SomePerlGeek at 12:49 PM on January 28, 2011

The Derailers have a song called "Whole Other World" that sounds like it should fit what you're looking for.

Work day ends join some friends
For dinner conversation
They can't believe stories 'bout my ol' home town
Cause they grew up riding buses, taxi cabs and subways
This concrete world is all they've ever known

But there's a whole other world out there
Clear blue sky a breath of fresh air
Here in the city too much fussin' and fightin'
Wish I was back home where the fish are bitin'
Where Mum and Daddy got the radio on
Slow dancin' to a sweet country song
Cotton candy at the county fair
There's a whole other world out there

posted by whatideserve at 8:59 AM on January 30, 2011

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