Big and Rich   Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy.
This is not country–it is on country radio, country music television,the country station on Yahoo Launch, and reviewed as country by Chuck Eddy in the Village Voice. I am glad that it is well liked, that it is getting notice and that it is the Video to Watch according to Yahoo,and the most requested on my local country radio station. The thing is that the whole thing is too camp, too sexy, too artificial, too glam to be country. It shows off too much, its all about the egos of Mr Big and Mr Rich.  A a real cowboy doesn’t give out 100 dollar bills to random bar patrons, there is a New York reference and no cowboy ever came to NYC–Joe Buck excepted.
This is country. It quotes Willie Nelson who is always automatically country. Not only does Willie come in to play, so do horses and that makes it doubly country (see Beer For My Horses by Toby Keith and MrNelson). It features getting drunk and making out in the back of apick up truck (not fucking, the fucking is implied, no this is just a little touch football). The title is that slightly risque pun that has been done since the beginning. As well, there are thefiddles…country has fiddle solos, nothing else does. Plus it combines sex and salvation–Jesus and Jezebel have been recent development, but they are there–Jason McCoy’s Born Again in Dixieland is the only one that comes immediately to mind.
It might be hip hop. The highly self aware samples that are found through out the track and what begins it. (anyways aren’t horse samples in, what with the newish noisy Missy Eliot). Then the handing out random money and buying rounds as a way to win games of masculine performance, would fit in quite well. As well, the mention of the phrases Bling Bling, Escalade, Freak Parade and Getting Buzzed. Then there is all the talking in the third person “having as big and Rich time”, and some of the fiddle solos are thoroughly electronic.
Looking at the video, and how Big and Rich look like a fagged up Brooks and Dunn–if Brooks and Dunn weren’t fagged up enough as it is, plus all of the heavily sexualised weirdness(Drag Queens, Dwarfs,Chorus lines of business suited girls in elaborate garters) , plus how they use the same bridge that Kenny Chesney used for theYoung video, which couldn’t be more earnest, and this couldn’t be less. Maybe it is a conflation of pop and country music trends, a careful, ironic gloss on the nature of where things are, but that care is taken to make sure that it is more fun–its like he is countryfying the same shit that everyone else has been listening to in the last few years (ie Crown vs Kristal, the girls drinking long necks, etc.)
I wonder if this cross pollution is worth doing…country took from the alt boom a new traditionalism in subject matter, but not musically in a way that makes anything interesting. This might be a thumb nose to how fucking boring things have become, how treacly and how poignant. We used to have big summer anthems that came blaring from sexy boys in pick up trucks, and there hasn’t been one in a long time– this one isn’t the most usual sense but it might just work until we get something really new  tweaked.