Courtesy of Thirst and Co.

Welp, now I have “Redneck Wrecking Ball” stuck in my head. If you’re reading this at the date of publication, you probably haven’t heard this tune yet, certainly not if you aren’t into local country music. The newest single from Joshua’s Dana Deatherage makes its streaming service debut and drops to 800 radio stations across Texas and Oklahoma on Friday, a date on which you, too, may get it lodged in your head after a listen. It’s an endearing ditty about a woman who sounds like the human version of a tornado stopping by a trailer park, packaged in breezy Western Swing, sweetened by the guest vocals of Fort Worth’s Kendi Jean. I’ve heard it one single time, and in my brain, I will hear it for the rest of the damn day until, to borrow from the song’s hook, I am certified, bona fide insane.

That’s probably an exaggeration, but the song is irresistibly catchy, and I don’t even like Western Swing that much. The chorus has a line that goes “She wrecked my truck, dipped my snuff, drank all the alcohol” that made me chuckle each time I heard it, and when Kendi Jean’s verse comes in, she just doubles down on all that, slapping her cards on the table with a shit-eating grin and the line “When he’s drunk, he treats me so damn sweet.”

It’s funny and charming in an “In Spite of Ourselves” kind of way, but of course, I had to think about these characters a little more — a side effect of a catchy song with some funny lines — and to me, the woman in this tune sounds like a nightmare, in love with the chaos wreaked upon her hapless, enabling partner. I’m fascinated with both of these characters, especially when they get to the part when she threatens to smash his shit and then sweetly suggests they give it one more try.


At the end of the song, he’s still all “What’re you doing later?,” and that’s nice, and her reply, which I won’t spoil because I want you to enjoy this song like I did, is a perfect coda, like the stinger in a Hee-Haw sketch. I know this song is funny and probably meant to be a goofy lark with a great hook, but think about if you knew this couple in real life. Such exquisite tea! The love is real, and so are the couplefights, heard through an apartment wall or across an Olive Garden parking lot.

This is me reading too much into a fun tune, though — Deatherage is a serious, philosophical songwriter, but he also has a song called “420 Friendly” after all. And from a sonic perspective, the song itself sounds like a hit. Behind the music, the track itself is played by some real ringers: Backing guitarist Deatherage in the studio were Miranda Lambert bassist Aden Bubeck, drummer Josh Rodgers, and on strings Milo Deering. Greg White, who also gets a songwriting credit, produced and engineered the song at SG Studios in White Settlement.

Deatherage thinks of himself as a “songwriter who performs,” but even if he never took the stage, putting out tracks like this one showcases his deft turn of phrase and ear for an irresistible chorus. It’s been a couple hours since I heard it, and it’s still bouncing around my brain. — Steve Steward


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