A lot of Americans seem to intensely dislike Brad Paisley and I have no idea why. Granted all I know about him is that he’s apparently bought himself a Wrestling federation and that he made this song which appears frequently in the TV show Justified. For all I know he might have a sideline in drowning babies and kicking puppies but fortunately that doesn’t make this any lesser a song.
I know there’s no shortage of heart string tugging nostalgia and romanticism here. But given the history of Harlan County and the depredations visited on it by the rich and the powerful a bit of emotional grandstanding is fair enough. And if you don’t know the history I fully recommend delving into the background around the miners’ strikes and pursuit of unionisation that took place there. Some very proud and very neglected parts of American history buried in there.
Anyway Crashed America is set the in the true South – Alabama, in a town called Hetsaw. So the musical connection in this instance is a slightly tenuous one – but some spirits work equally well whether you see them from the darker parts of history or the darker and stranger parts of fiction. Although I can guarantee with at least 97% certainty that there’s more laughs to be had from the book than from this song which I was once told is the most miserable ever made. Although I disagree with that to this day.