Taboo: Alzheimer’s Disease

October 1, 2006 // 3 Comments

Alzheimer’s Disease may seem an unlikely topic to deal with in song. It’s certainly difficult to deal with in a way that isn’t too maudlin or melodramatic, and the sensitive nature of a degenerative disease that robs the inflicted of their memory has not enticed many songwriters or artists. When one of Nashville’s best writers, Jon Vezner, penned a song that dealt with the topic, even his future wife, Kathy Mattea, was taken aback by it. He played it for her after the #1 party for her hit “Goin’ Gone,” as she recalls in the liner notes of The Definitive Collection: We went upstairs to the listening room, and when the first chorus went down, my head spun around. I knew the story, and I couldn’t believe he wrote it in a song.

Taboo: Prostitution and Country Music

August 11, 2006 // 4 Comments

Today a new feature debuts that will support the oft-repeated contention that country music deals with real life more deeply than nearly every other genre, with only hip-hop rivaling it in that regard. Taboo will explore a different element of society that is often not talked about in pleasant company, and show how country music has done so, warts and all. First up, prostitution. When Randy Travis was looking for material for his country gospel album Rise & Shine, he was surprised to hear this opening line on a demo tape: “A farmer and preacher, a hooker and a teacher, riding on a midnight bus bound for Mexico.” Not many gospel songs revolve around prostitutes, but you may be surprised how often these ladies of the night pop up in country music history. Travis’ hit “Three Wooden Crosses” tells the story of a hooker who is the only survivor of Read More