April 11, 2011
With this single, Jason Aldean pulls back the curtain on the mysterious ways of rural southern society. How fearless of Aldean to allow outsiders this rare glimpse into the social mores and recreational activities of southern youth.
For the first time, we learn that country music legends are so revered that their name need only be mentioned to evoke a deep-rooted value system. I was shocked to discover that this subculture of American society thrives beyond the paved roads provided by federal and state governments, a stunning statement of independence from the restrictions that we have attempted to construct around such resilient communities.
With voyeuristic intimacy, Aldean allows us to walk in the shoes of small town men and women. Hopefully, “Dirt Road Anthem” will be only the beginning of songs that tell us about the country lifestyle and what it means to those who live it. I can only imagine how vindicating and empowering it will be for these folks to finally hear a song about them on the radio.
I don’t usually root for a song to be successful, but it is imperative that this one makes an impact, so other artists are encouraged to tell us, in detail, what it means to be a country person in modern society. I know that country music’s aversion to formulaic songwriting makes such a scenario unlikely, but in this case, it is absolutely necessary.
What a tragedy it would be for the story of an entire people to be lost in time, leaving future generations in the dark about what it was really like to be a son of the south in the early 21st century.
Written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert
Listen: Dirt Road Anthem