Chris Cagle “My Life’s Been A Country Song” Capitol Nashville

by Jesse Hill

Chris Cagle is forty years old. That ain’t young in these the-younger-the-better times. And it ain’t young in this flash in the pan industry. And it ain’t young enough to be singing about the little, tan, wine-drunk girl that he barely knows laying on his chest during his “what happens in Cancun stays in Cancun” vacation like he does in “Little Sundress.” Point in fact, it’s borderline pederast. Now, I understand that those young performers singing Beyonce or Justin Timberlake songs while wearing bedazzled boots and highlights under their Stetsons are the people we young folks call country musicians these days. But I guess what I’m getting at is this: at some point you get too old for that shit. And I think forty is that point. Life’s too short to be going on singing about making her daddy mad in high school when you’re twenty-two years removed from it, not to mention to be singing about it with a rap-like rhythm. It’s time to think about your dignity, Chris. Think about the heroes you namedrop in the title track to your new album My Life’s Been A Country Song. WWMHD? (That’s what would Merle Haggard do?) Or J.C.? (Jesus or Johnny, take your pick.) Or Waylon? Lefty? Porter? George Jones? Strait? They were men who spoke some truth and sold some albums in the process. And you can still do it and hit Billboard’s Country Top 25. I promise. Just look at Tim McGraw’s new single “Kristofferson.” It ain’t grrreat, but it ain’t as silly as any of Cagle’s sweet-sixteen-love-sick songs. Now, I understand that this is what sells, and if I try hard enough when I listen to songs like “What Kinda Gone,” “I Don’t Want To Live,” and “Keep Me From Loving You,” I can even feel like the little rural teenage girl I never was and slightly forgive them their cheesiness, but we really need these things from a newly-twenty-something to make them even a little bit acceptable, and songs like “It’s Good To Be Back” and “My Heart Move On” just need to be left on the cutting room floor. They’re boy band songs, Chris, and at this point, they are not even acceptable from the once stars of those decade-old favorite boy bands. (I seriously think “It’s Good To Be Back” might have originally been penned “It’s Good To Be A Backstreet Boy.”) And they’re definitely not songs a forty year-old man in a cowboy hat needs to be singing. But WAIT! The last song on My Life’s Been A Country Song is “Change Me.” The lyrics and vocals summon Hank Williams’ ghost, and the song is pretty darn alright. Chris croons “there’s so much more I can be” if he can only find the woman he needs to change him. Maybe he knows what I’m getting at. He wants to be changed! And before he even meets her, he’s inspired by her to make a decent song. Find her Chris! Find her! And when you do, make a whole album inspired by her! Without high school songs and boy band-ness! And then you can hip all of your fans to some decent contemporary country!! And we can all be happy. We can all be happy, Chris! If you’re out there listening or reading young ladies, and you think you’re the woman that can save country, find Chris Cagle. Find Chris Cagle and change him, ladies! And save country music!!! Hope! Change! It’s in your hands, ladies. Save country music!!!!!! (No. I’m serious. Really.)

My Life\'s Been a Country Song
My Life's Been a Country Song


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