A Musical Recommendation, with a bonus Hunter Biden connection (posted 4/16/21)

When I’m not scanning various sources and taking the hit for CO readers by subjecting myself to speeches by Joey Gaffes and members of his administration, I like to surf around looking for music I haven’t heard.   And this week I found a great, new-to-me video that made me think of a serious societal issue.  So I thought I’d share it with you all.

But first, what made this video jump out to me at first was watching Tucker’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop last week.  This is the laptop that our entire media complex is resisting linking to Hunter Biden in any way. 

Even though it contains – how can I put this delicately? – many videos of Hunter Biden engaged in activities which surely fall under the legal statues that deal with “hookers-and-blow-related offenses.”  Also, there are some disturbing pics of him with “meth mouth” that would be way more effective in an ad campaign than any “Just Say No!” presentations ever.

Before I go any further, I must say that Joe Biden’s apparent love for his son is one of his better qualities.  I can’t imagine the pain of having a child go this far off the rails, and my heart goes out to anyone – parent, spouse, sibling or just friend – who has to face this kind of horrible situation.

That being said, in addition to being six kinds of degenerate, Hunter appears to have been a bagman for his dad, collecting loads of illicit cash from the blood-soaked dictatorship now oppressing China.  So…

And THAT being said, one of the most corrosive elements of elitist rule is the double standards that apply to them and their families.  If Hunter’s last name wasn’t Biden, he’d obviously be doing serious prison time for any number of well-documented offenses.  (Lying on federal docs to purchase a gun, drug offenses, sex offenses, “defiling thy brother’s widow” offenses, etc.)

Which brings me back to my video find for today.  It’s an amazing song, written and played by a guy I’ve never heard of before, who goes by “Billy Strings.”  It’s sung from the prospective of a small-time addict who gets a heavy prison sentence for his drug use, and I can’t help thinking that as long as we have the drug laws that we do, this is the kind of song that expresses the consequences that Hunter Biden should be experiencing right now.

The song is called “Dust in a Baggie.”  When you search for it, pick the version showing the singer sitting on a couch in what looks like half the downscale living rooms I grew up in.  The tag beside the video is, “In a quiet room at a loud party.” 

Before you watch it, I’ll set the scene for you.  The singer looks about 15 years old, wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, with an acoustic guitar on his lap and the jolly stoner everyone knew in high school standing behind him.  He’s got a little bit of Forrest Gump about him, somehow.  But after a little prompting to play, “the latest song you wrote” by an off-screen voice, the kid launches into 3 minutes of sweet, blazing-fast guitar playing, accompanying by some pitch-perfect first-person lyrics from the point of view of an opioid-addicted convict.  

As a language fan and a person of Scots-Irish/Appalachian-American descent, I love this kind of spare, evocative lyrics.   It’s like Hemingway, if he wrote hillbilly music.  Which may be another way of saying that it’s like a new Hank Williams song.       

The opening verse and chorus: “I ain’t slept in 7 days, and I ain’t ate in 3/ This methamphetamine has got a damn good hold of me/My tweaker friends have got me to the point of no return/ I just take my lighter to a bowl and watch it burn.”  Chorus: “This life of sin, it’s got me in/ lord it’s got me back in prison once again/ I used my only phone call to contact my daddy/I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie.”  

I admire excellence in any field, from sports to carpentry to airplane construction.  So I can’t help but be awestruck by how much practice it took for that kid to get that good with a guitar.  As I said, he looks to be in his late teens, but has somehow apparently spent the last 47 years practicing the guitar for 17 hours a day.

But those deceptively simple lyrics really blew me away; picturing this blue-collar kid in his semi-underclass surroundings producing a meticulously crafted song like this is stunning.  And watching his transformation on this video is a little eerie – he goes from a normal-looking kid at the beginning, and then back to a normal-looking kid again at the end. 

But in between, he’s a possessed Tasmanian devil of flying fingers, a cross between an old blues man and hillbilly banjo player, and a freaking musical genius!

If I could write one song as note-perfect and precise as this one, I’d give up songwriting and go back to political mockery without looking back.     

Okay, I might have built this up too much.  Lyrics always look at least a little flat on the page, so if you’ve got any appreciation for classical music (that’s right, I said it) like George Jones, Johnny Cash or this psychotic bluegrass/speed metal, watch the video.  I know that Appalachian music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  But if that song and those lyrics don’t move you at least a little, we can still be friends, but I cannot trust your musical judgment!

Now ask yourself how this song would change if it was written from the point of view of Hunter Biden.  A lot would stay the same, including the crippling, life-destroying effects of meth use.  But the chorus would certainly change dramatically, with no mention of prison, and an ending something like, “I used my only phone call to contact my daddy/Now I’m off scot free despite that meth and those hookers.”

This song made me think of another song about the ravages of substance abuse, this one by another semi-obscure, young country songwriter named Robert Ellis.  It’s called, “A bottle of wine (and a bag of cocaine),” and it’s the polar opposite in tone of “Dust in a Baggie.”  Quiet, slow and elegiac, accompanied by a spare instrumental line that sounds like it comes from an old, beat-up piano in a church basement somewhere.

All of which gives me an idea for a start-the-weekend activity for CO readers everywhere.  Do you have any favorite songs on this subject?  If you recommend some good ones, maybe we can put together a cd’s worth of tunes, and call them, “The Hunter Biden collection.”

Have a great weekend!

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