October 27, 2009
Evidently, country artists in Nashville are damn proud to be from the country – so proud that they each feel the need to record a song proclaiming just this and, no less, release it to country radio. I’ve lost track of the number of these singles put out in the past year, a handful of which I’ve found to be borderline offensive. As a city girl with a heck of a lot of love for the spirit of country music, I’d rather not be made to feel like I’m being excluded from a members-only club.
And that’s why “Hillbilly Bone” is a raucous, boot-stompin’ breath of fresh air among its peers. It’s the opposite of exclusive: it’s Shelton and Adkins’ open invitation to join in on the honky-tonk fun, extended to everyone, because everyone — even you, New York urbanite — has a hillbilly bone. It’s not about where you’re from, but instead about how you feel when the “fiddle saws”: “No you ain’t gotta be born out in the sticks…to get on down with me.” Corny, but true.
“Hillbilly Bone” is a novelty song through and through, but it’s catchy and dynamic, and it laughs at itself (the consecutive “bubba”s in the second verse are pretty amusing). The only glaring problem is that it seems to be written for someone with Adkins’ swagger, and while his presence injects a certain amount of believability and punch into the song, you can’t help but wonder how four minutes of pure Adkins might have elevated the performance. Shelton and Adkins make an interesting combination of voices and attitude, though, and make an enjoyable case for finding your hillbilly bone…b-bone, b-bone bone.
Written by Luke Laird and Craig Wiseman
Listen: Hillbilly Bone