With “Daddy Lessons” Queen Bey schools the bro-country boys in how to write a 21st-century, hard country anthem that is relevant, revelatory, and rooted. Don’t be distracted by those jazzy, bluesy, Louisiana horns that open the piece — “Daddy Lessons" is a country song. What makes a song country. Once we get beyond Harlan Howard’s “three chords and the truth,” there’s not a lot of agreement, but I’ve got a checklist. Evangelical Christianity and African musical influences. Check. Concerns with family legacy. Check. Love of whiskey and guns. Check. Offering advice. Check. Feeling sentimental about Bible-thumping and open roads. Check. Putting child-rearing and sibling relations over sexual adventures with lovers or bonds with friends. Check. Honoring the patriarchy. Check. Concerns with good and evil and a determination to be good. Check. Shouting out to Texas. Check. Horse-opera riffs that remind us cowboy movies helped make country country. Check. Doing right by Mama and listening to Daddy. Check, check, check, that’s country. The most obvious country song to compare “Daddy Lessons” to is the Miranda Lambert and Heather Little co-write, “Gunpowder And Lead.” Like “Daddy Lessons” (which Beyoncé wrote with Wynter Gordon, Kevin Cossom, and Alex Delicata), “Gunpowder And Lead” mixes images of girlhood (ragdolls and nursery rimes) with shotguns, puts a weapon in a good girl’s arms, then points it straight at a bad boy’s heart. The second most obvious comparison is “Cleaning This Gun,” written by Casey Beathhard and Marla Cannon-Goodman, recorded by Rodney Atkins. In this tune, a young suitor threatened with a gun by his girlfriend’s father grows up to be a... Sign In to Keep Reading
Gain Access to the American Songwriter Vault of Resources with a Free Membership
Sign up to gain access to exclusive aticles, members-only contests, archived interviews, and more.
Already a member? Sign in here.