From The Side of the Road… the missing ingredient in bluegrass songs

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the song made popular by Dobie Gray in 1973 called Drift Away, but it’s a song that’s had enduring appeal. I personally have always been a huge fan of the Dobie Gray version. It was always missing something, though, and maybe you too had  been a little troubled by it: the song lacks product placement.

There’s now good news on that front, however: country artist Dustin Lynch has collaborated with Jelly Roll to redo the song, and now it gives a big plug for Chevrolet. It is, in fact, called Chevrolet. It turned out that the phrase “drift away” rhymed with and had the same number of syllables as “Chevrolet,” and lo, a song idea was born. In classic Nashville fashion, three songwriters co-wrote the new lyrics to the original song: Chase McGill, Hunter Phelps, and Jessi Alexander. According to ABC News, “Mentor Williams, who penned Drift Away, is also included as a songwriter” (it being his song and all).

Also from ABC News:

Dustin Lynch and Jelly Roll have released “Chevrolet,” and it’s a song that drips with nostalgia . . . “There is something in the air in Nashville right now, where writers are on the same wavelength and doing cool things like interpolating classic songs into something new,” says Dustin. “When ‘Chevrolet’ came across our plate, it floored me.”

While enjoying the new GM-friendly song, I felt something nagging at me: bluegrass music is sorely lacking in product placement in our songs, John Deere Tractor notwithstanding, and that’s so sad for us. Perhaps we don’t have that same “something in the air” they have right now in Nashville. So I think we have a mission, and I call on the IBMA to immediately jump on the bandwagon to help promote this campaign. We need to rewrite as many bluegrass standards to promote a product of some kind. Sure, we may mourn the loss of the purity of the originals, but the sponsorship money that will roll in as a result will immediately ease any qualms we might have.

Here are a few ideas to get this rolling:

Rocky Top becomes Jiffy Pop 

(“Jiffy Pop, you’ll always be, the go-to snack for me . . .”)

I Wonder Where You Are Tonight becomes The Wonder Bread You Eat Tonight

(“The dough is warm and slowly rising, in Wonder bakeries tonight . . .”)

A little obvious:

Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’ becomes Go Get a Sun-Maid Raisin

(“I’ve got a fruit that’s sweet to me, a ripe red grape’s what it used to be . . .”)

‘Tis Sweet To Be Remembered becomes Disney Will Be Remembered

(“Disney will be remembered, while I’m waiting for this ride . . .”)

Some Old Day – Here it would be easy to reuse “Chevrolet” but I’m going with Chick-Fil-A

(“Chick-Fil-A . . . cows on the billboards say . . .”)

From the J.D. Crowe archives:

It’s Me Again, Lord becomes It’s Me Again, Ford

(“It’s me again, Ford, I’ve got a date this Friday evening . . .”)

Why Did You Wander becomes Ride in My Honda

(“Oh ride, oh ride in my Honda, ride my Accord down the road . . .”)

From Tony Rice via Gordon Lightfoot:

Bitter Green becomes Dairy Queen

(“Into the Dairy Queen she walked, the only one in town,
A Reese’s Pieces Blizzard might turn her day around . . .”)

I’ll stop now.