Here’s my disclaimer: if you found the song “She Left Me for Jesus” uncomfortably irreverent, the video is almost certainly not for you. Objectively speaking, this thing is downright blasphemous; where the humor of the song came from its absurd narrator, the humor of the video comes from its absurd everything, very much including its portrayal of Christ. And there you have it. Some will find the shock value titillating and benign; others will find it appalling. A lot of people will probably land somewhere in the middle.
But whatever your reaction to the boundless mockery, you’ve got to applaud the creativity: Carll plays a cameraman for 2-Timerz, a not-so-veiled (and gloriously accurate) take on the television camp-fest Cheaters. A man comes onto the show to find out the truth about his high school sweetheart, and naturally it’s not too long before we’re spying on the tramp from a sketchy van as she cavorts around with one of the most low-budget Jesus imitators you’ll ever see. I don’t want to spoil the details for you, but suffice it to say that there’s a shout-out to the art of crib-pimping and some chutzpahed cameos you have to see to believe.
The actors have an absolute ball with their work throughout, and even some of the camera work is impressively loyal to its source material. It’s all dizzingly goofy, of course, but the antics are executed with editorial intelligence, and the jokes feel spontaneous, not scripted. The video doesn’t necessarily do much to complement the song (which obviously doesn’t feature Jesus as a physical person); rather, it uses the lyrics as a starting-point for its greater madcap story, which might not work if that story didn’t happen to be so compelling in its own right. It’s random, awkward, and endlessly kooky, and there’s no more fun to be had in a music video this year – unless, of course, it’s not your thing to begin with. So I’ll just let you pick your grade.
(You can also watch the video in higher quality here)
The Americana Music Association handed out its yearly awards and honors Thursday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. The evening, which is a part of a four-day festival and conference, was hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featured an All-Star Band led by Buddy Miller.
The following were the nominees, with the big winners of the evening in bold:
Album of the Year: Trouble in Mind, Hayes Carll Raising Sand, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant Just Us Kids, James McMurtry Dirt Farmer, Levon Helm
Duo/Group of the Year:
Alison Krauss & Robert Plant
Drive By Truckers
Kane Welch Kaplin
The Avett Brothers
Artist of the Year:
Steve Earle Levon Helm
Instrumentalist of the Year:
New Emerging Artist of the Year:
Justin Townes Earle Mike Farris
Song of the Year:
“Broken,” Tift Merritt (written by Tift Merritt)
“Cheney’s Toy,” James McMurtry (written by James McMurtry)
“Gone Gone Gone,” Alison Krauss & Robert Plant (written by Don & Phil Everly)
“Poor Old Dirt Farmer,” Levon Helm (written by Tracy Schwarz) “She Left Me for Jesus,” Hayes Carll (written by Hayes Carll & Brian Keane)
Lifetime Achievement Awards:
John Hiatt (songwriting)
Jason & the Scorchers (performance)
Tony Brown (producer/executive)
Larry Brown (instrumentalist)
Terry Lickona (executive (Austin City Limits))
Trailblazer Award: Nanci Griffith
“Spirit of Americana” Free Speech in Music: Joan Baez
President’s Award: Jerry Garcia
“She Left Me For Jesus,” Hayes Carll (keep watching until the end for Hayes Carll’s explanation of the future video for this song…)
His song “She Left Me For Jesus” was one of those rare intentionally funny songs, but Hayes Carll is just as capable of turning in a sincere and reflective song of unrequited love. His vocal and delivery is like a wonderful hybrid of Lyle Lovett and Todd Snider. He harmonizes eff