Hank Williams, Jr. – A Country Boy Can Survive

This 1982 song was revived as “American Will Survive” after 9/11, and is one of country singer-songwriter Hank Williams, Jr’s most known songs.

The lyrics celebrate the independence of rural Americans that can live off the land. It’s a populist message reverential, deferential to the common sense of the common people, a dominant strain in American political culture to this day. Still, it’s a complex tune that doesn’t reflexively treat big city types as out of touch. The narrator befriends a city businessman who is then murdered. The narrator would seek vengeance on the killer, in a defence of all Americans from different backgrounds (though vigilante justice is hardly lawful). The post-9/11 version had the man killed by the terrorists.

Related: Brooks and Dunn – Only In America


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