[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-c9437flXk[/youtube]

First of all, the video has nothing to do with the song. Unless Montgomery Gentry comes from the Korengal Valley.

I thought I’d take a look at Montgomery Gentry’s 2011 #12 Billboard country hit “Where I Come From.” I heard it on the radio a couple times yesterday, and it struck me as both kind of badass and exhausting. Probably because Montgomery Gentry seems to have sung this song a few dozen times before. Nobody paints a cliched picture of small-town America quite as consistently as Montgomery and Gentry. They’re the Courier & Ives of the 21st century.

Let’s check the lyrics, which are in bold.

Don’t you dare go running down
My little town where I grew up
Eddie Montgomery (brother of John Michael) was born in Danville, KY, pop. 16,218
Troy Gentry was born in Nicholasville, KY, pop. 28,015
Both men played in bands with John Michael Montgomery until his solo career took off.
And I won’t cuss your city lights
Who is the “I” in this song? Songwriters Rodney Clawson and Dallas Davidson. Clawson wrote hits like “I Saw God Today,” “Lost In This Moment” and “Amarillo Sky.” He’s from Gruver, TX, pop. 1,162. Davidson has written or co-written a ton of hits in the last 10 years: “Start A Band,” “That’s How Country Boys Roll” and “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” among them. He’s from Albany, GA, pop. 77,434.

If you ain’t ever took a ride around
And cruised right through the heart of my town
Anything you say would be a lie
The “big city guy who loves to mock small town America” is one of country music’s favorite straw men, and Montgomery Gentry gives it body blows better than anyone since Alabama. Why on Earth would anyone want to say anything about your town if they’ve never been there? And I doubt a quick spin past the Tastee Freez would tell you all you need to know. Or maybe it would. Has this ever happened to you?
You: (take your seat next to a relatively attractive 30-something woman on a flight to Orlando)
Her: Hi. Where you from?
You: Gruver, Texas, ma’am.
Her: I’ve never heard of it. Is that the place where poor, illiterate people rape cattle?
You: Um. I don’t think so.
Her: Well, it sounds like the place where racist people like you burn churches and fill your basement cages with babies.
You: Can I get your number?

We may live our lives a little slower
Words you can expect in a country song once you hear something about living life slower: tractor, porch, flag, corner store, truck, fight, fishing pole, water tower, football, beer, boat.
But that don’t mean I wouldn’t be proud to show ya
Again, the assumption is that just because life is a little slower, Mr. Straw Man wouldn’t want to take a look around. Apparently, Montgomery Gentry thinks we’re all Kardashians.

Where I come from
There’s an old plow boy out turning up dirt
This makes it sound like there’s a kid in a field walking behind a mule-pulled moldboard. That is true nowhere. This is probably what he’s talking about, and it’s really fairly common.
Where I come from
There’s a preacher man in a cowboy shirt
Really? This tells me all I need to know about where you live. Wait. No it doesn’t. Unless you’re telling me that your preacher has the fashion sense of early ’90s Garth Brooks. In which case, I get it.
Where I come from
Where a couple boys fight in the parking lot
Ah, yes. Fights. I mean, we go to church and all, but that don’t mean we’re a bunch of pussies. We can still beat on each other. In fact, we sort of have to.
No, nobody’s gonna call the cops
Bad cell service.
Where I come from

See that door right there, man I swear
That it ain’t never been locked
And I can guarantee that it never will
Did you seriously ask me to look at a single door as we drove past? Say I take your word for it that the door has either never been locked or has no lock. Am I also to believe that the person living there has never seen “America’s Most Wanted?” Foolishness. I bet whoever lives there locks the screen door.
That old man right there in the rocking chair
At the courthouse square I’ll tell you now
He could buy your fancy car with hundred dollar bills
So you live in Hazard County? I know what Montgomery Gentry is going for here–a sort of “you can’t judge a book by its cover” lesson that it might be a small town, but there is a lot of money in some of those pockets. Trust me. There’s a lot more money in the city. And my “fancy car” is a Hyundai Sonata. I know, right!? Seriously, looks pretty sweet for an affordable sedan.
Don’t let those faded overalls fool ya
He made his millions without one day of schoolin’
Truly amazing. So I’m assuming he inherited it. Or maybe he got hit by a limo. Just what sort of faded overalls would a millionaire wear? Yep.

Where I come from
There’s a pickup truck with the tailgate down
So, like this?
Where I come from
The pine trees are singing the song of the south
I’d rather listen to “Song of the South.” Or “Song of the South.”
Where I come from
That little white church is gonna have a crowd yeah
Are you trying to say that your town is the only place where people go to church? Have you ever been anywhere else?
I’m pretty damn proud
Where I come from.
What happened to you that you have to prove the pride you have in your hometown? Level with me. There’s got to be something you don’t like about your hometown. That’s the nature of the hometown. If it’s not a love-hate relationship, you’re doing something wrong.

Where I come from
There’s a big old moon shining down at night
This is the 10th bit of trivia you’ve told us about your hometown, and you’re already scraping the bottom of the barrel. Unless the moon is big and shining every night of the month in your hometown, this is hardly a unique occurrence. This line isn’t even worth the rhyme to set up the next one.
Where I come from
There’s a man done wrong gonna make it right
What did he do!?! I need details! I feel like I’ve learned nothing on this trip. Can we go back to see if that door is still locked?
Where I come from
There’s an old plow boy out turning up dirt
OK. Yep.
Where I come from
There’s a preacher man in a cowboy shirt
I know!!! Damn. Is he a cowboy, or does he just like playing dress-up? I bet in Amarillo, there’s a preacher who is an actual cowboy. But that’s a big city, so you probably don’t care.
Where I come from
Where a couple of boys fight in the parking lot
Let’s do it! Pull in and put up your dukes, buddy! This place is soooooo boring! I’m gonna pound your face in just to break up the monotony. Tell that millionaire in the Ralph Lauren overalls to put $500 on me, because you’re about to eat tailgate!
No, ain’t nobody gonna call the cops
Why do you keep saying that? You’re calling the cops, aren’t you? Figures. This place sucks.
Yeah, that river runs across that old flint rock
Where did that come from?

Where I come from
Where I come from
Before I let these small-town panderers off the hook, I have to mention that this is at least the third time Montgomery Gentry has recorded this exact song. Other examples are “My Town,” “HIllbilly Shoes,” “Damn right I Am” and “I Like These People.” I’m sure there are others.