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I Ain’t No Country Fan (But Man You Sure Sound Good To Me)

Posted by on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 in Analysis Essay, , , , , , , , .

Jennifer Blood and Bruce Arntson

Jennifer Blood and Bruce Arntson

Being in Nashville’s historic Station Inn, made famous for its place in the bluegrass scene since 1971, a musical is far from expected. Around me, the lively audience with beers in hand waits anxiously for the arrival of Doyle and Debbie. The play, written by Ben Arntson, performed as Doyle and Jennifer Blood as Debbie, take place as Doyle tries to return to the musical spotlight after a previous downfall. Now accompanied by his young, third “Debbie,” Doyle hopes he can regain his fame. The audience is treated to parodies of classic country music in the stylings of famous country duos. Arntson, as a lover of country music, wanted to bring light to some of the hilarious quirks country music can have. The importance at laughing at one’s self is a hidden theme in this show along with an acknowledgment of a city’s musical culture. With a plot line that exaggerates realism, the content should not be taken seriously. Shows like this are significant especially in a place where the scenery is becoming lost to gentrification; smaller recording houses torn down in favor of shiny multistory glass buildings. The Station Inn in combination with Doyle and Debbie, help preserve a city’s culture while bringing adult comedy to a historic area that refuses to be lost.


Jennifer Blood and Bruce Arntson

Blood and Arntson

Songs like “When You’re Screwin’ Other Women (Think of Me),” and “Fat Women in Trailers,” serve as examples of how far this duo is willing to go in terms of parody. As the titles of songs are said aloud by performers, returner bear a smile while newcomers, like myself, raised their eyebrows unsure of what to expect. According to Arntson, the songs are based on specific duos that he felt could match his and Blood’s sound. Of course, there can be issues when parodying a genre that many are a fan of in the city that is known as the capital of country music. As well, there can be issues in the content with lyrics in songs like “I Ain’t No Homo (But Man You Sure Look Good To Me),” and “Barefoot and Pregnant,” that wouldn’t be considered the most progressive. The show is self-aware in its breaking of the fourth wall by the duo talking directly to the audience between songs. It is aware that lyrics are problematic, yet funny in its context. The songs don’t make fun of other races, ethnicities, or specific people, they make fun of themselves as the characters. Doyle is misogynistic with his treatment of Debbie and Blood plays into the trope of a young woman trying to get her big break in the music industry as Debbie while trying to keep her childhood star afloat. The show is set as the duo performing a concert which lends itself well to the performing space and to continually break that fourth wall. It can feel reminiscent of smaller concert venues, which The Station Inn is every other day and like many small venues spread throughout downtown Nashville.


Because the Station Inn is an older bar, it is most likely that people familiar with Nashville will be in attendance. This allows the audience to partake in a type of historical fiction. They get a piece of history in its correct environment which is important for the preservation of the cities culture.

The Station Inn

The Station Inn

Newcomers also get to enjoy this feeling if they can find it hidden behind the newer buildings of The Gulch (the new name of this area of Nashville). The Station Inn does capitalize on its feel of “classic Nashville” with its dark interior, muted exterior, and weekly shows, but it does so away from Broadway which greatly modifies itself to fit the consumer. The Station Inn just is. There are no extra bells and whistles (besides the ones brought on the stage of course). This makes the whole spectacle special in the ever-growing city that is Nashville where it has become difficult to even find a native Nashvillian.

With popular shows like Nashville, newcomers only get a polished view of Music City. Characters are from the upper-class, gentrified area whereas Doyle and Debbie relate more to small town Tennesseans that move to the big city. They are a little rougher around the edges, a little more innocent in the case of Debbie, and still talented enough to hold the stage. This side of Nashville culture is one that older Nashvillians try to show transplants of the city. The main Broadway strip has become a tourist spot that caters to wealthier folk, takes itself too seriously with bright lights and loud music to bring more people in, and the Gulch has taken over a vast part of downtown Nashville, but The Station Inn remains unfazed. Doyle and Debbie pay no mind to the gentrification around. They continue to be their authentic selves. This show holds importance to many from the city. Like newcomers, they have a place in Nashville and a place in Nashville culture if they just know where to look.

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