Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

April 3, 2013

Realities of life told in country music

By Keith Kappes - Publisher

April 3, 2013 —     We’ve been warned for years that some rock music, if played backward, would bring forth a dangerous, even devilish message.

    On the other hand, some folks say they believe that if you play a country song backward, you’ll likely get your job back, your doublewide trailer will be returned by the bank, your wife and/or girlfriend will come back with the kids, and the finance company will give you back your pickup truck, dog and all.

    Years ago, as a college student trying to make a few bucks, I worked part-time as a country music disc jockey.

    I grew to love the music, especially the lyrics which told the unvarnished truth about life. In fact, I still refer to those songs as the “music of real life.”

    My only complaint was that I hosted a Saturday morning radio show that started at 6 a.m. with the farm market report and ended at noon.

    Sometimes I felt silly talking about the “Early Bird Jamboree” at five minutes till noon.

    We took telephone requests and that was an education in and of itself.

    One seemingly unhappy woman called almost every Saturday, asking simply for “a cheatin’ song” dedicated to her worthless, so-and-so husband.

    I finally got up the nerve to ask her if she really believed her husband was seeing another woman.

    I’ll never forget her answer: “On no, he’d never be that brave or that dumb. But I bet he thinks about it. Besides, I just like cheatin’ songs.”

    I thought of her about 20 years later when John Anderson scored a big hit with “She Just Started Liking Cheatin’ Songs.”

    One young girl called to ask me to play “that song about the crazy guy who talks to his house.” I figured out it was “Hello Walls” by Faron Young.

    A minister phoned to tell me he was stumped for a sermon topic for Sunday morning. I suggested he use the words of “Wings of a Dove” by Ferlin Husky.

    I was having girlfriend issues that summer and Patsy Cline didn’t help much with the likes of “I Fall to Pieces.”

    Not surprisingly, I had trouble balancing my social life and my work schedule so the station manager showed up one morning with my replacement…and fired me.

    The friendly stranger told me his name was “Peewee” and that someday he was going to Nashville to be a songwriter and musician.

    The new DJ wasn’t kidding about his ambitions. Country music fans know him today as Tom T. Hall.