Waylon Jennings Nicholas R. Spitzer - Essay

Nicholas R. Spitzer

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["Bob Wills Is Still the King" on the album Dreaming My Dreams] defies the categories of hard-core and progressive country. Based on record sales it fulfills both genres. The song is sung by Waylon Jennings, whose initial audience had been the fans of hard-core or "straight" country music. Admittedly, Waylon has always defied labels….

Lyrically the song toughly espouses the virtues of Texas life in the nostalgic terms of cowboy self-reliance and chivalry. Further, it invokes an animistic fashion, a past regional hero as the basis for present day self-pride. (p. 192)

In relation to the function of popular culture artists and art forms in shaping an expanded sense of community and cultural contiguity, I should point out that Waylon Jennings, based on the lyrics of many of his songs is a symbolic, normative outlaw. Country and western music is rife with them as fantasy characters providing honorable ways to break the law. His power as a performer for Austin audiences is further amplified in his rebellion from Nashville. That is, he also iconically represents an outlaw of sorts. (p. 193)

Nicholas R. Spitzer, "'Bob Wills Is Still the King': Romantic Regionalism and Convergent Culture in Central Texas," in JEMF Quarterly, Vol, XI, No. 40, Winter, 1975, pp. 191-94.∗