This originally appeared as a blog post in the Victoria Advocate on June 9, 2015.
In case you missed it last week, former Texas governor Rick Perry kicked off his second campaign for president of the United States at a rally at Addison Airport in Addison, Texas last Thursday.
Flanked by his wife, Anita, and former Navy SEALs Morgan and Marcus Luttrell (of “Lone Survivor” fame), Perry officially entered the ring as the latest GOP candidate in an already crowded field.
What’s interesting, especially for country music fans, is that Perry took the stage to a Colt Ford song.
Ford, a country-rap artist best known for the unfortunate “Chicken and Biscuits,” where he compares a woman’s love to the aforementioned Southern culinary staple, also did a song called “Answer to No One,” with lyrics like
“I won’t back up, I don’t back down
I’ve been raised up to stand my ground
Take my job but not my guns
Tax my check till I ain’t got none
Except for the good Lord up above
I answer to no one”
“Shotgun toter, Republican voter
Hank Junior supporter, let’s protect our border
To hell with anyone who don’t believe in the USA.”
The song seems tailor-made for a Republican politician already, but Perry went above and beyond in using the song for his announcement, changing the lyrics to
“Rick Perry supporter, let’s protect our border
To hell with anyone who don’t believe in the USA,
Rick Perry all the way.”
Perry is not the latest Texan politician to use country music to his advantage in an attempt to court the conservative vote. Senator Ted Cruz claimed in an interview earlier this year that he stopped listening to rock music and started exclusively listening to country music after 9/11.
“On 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded, and country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me, and I have to say, it just is a gut-level — I had an emotional reaction that says, ‘These are my people,'” Cruz told CBS This Morning.
Whether or not Perry’s and Cruz’s musical tastes are the real deal or blatantly courting a coveted demographic doesn’t matter. Studies have repeatedly shown that Republicans listen to more country music, so it’s a smart move.
A 2004 Gallup poll found that 30 percent of George W. Bush supporters were country music fans, compared to just 15 percent of John Kerry supporters, and a 2013 study by Spotify found that users who listened to artists like Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean were more likely to vote Republican, while users who listened to Rihanna, Jay-Z, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were more likely to vote Democrat.
Whether Perry will have any success on the country-rap circuit, however, remains to be seen.
New Music This Week
-Billy Currington doesn’t do anything new with his latest, “Summer Forever,” so if you’re a fan of his laid-back, drinking-song vibe, you might want to check that album out. “Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem” is a great track that taps into country’s latest drinking song obsession and makes it a little more nostalgic and melancholy.
-Kacey Musgraves released a new single, “Family is Family,” off of her upcoming album “Pageant Material.” It’s a short, fun little song about how you may not always like your relatives, but in the long run, you still love each other.
-Keith Urban’s latest single “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” sounds like the formulaic radio-destined song it was surely engineered to be. In the latest country music fashion, it name-checks Don McLean, Kris Kristofferson, John Cougar Mellencamp, Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway while espousing the benefits of whiskey and summer nights.