S y d n e y T r a d s

Weblog of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum

Thinking Right About Pop Culture: Lonestar – My Front Porch Looking In

What follows are programme notes for the “Conservative Song” segment of Radio Carpe Diem compiled by Dominik Giemza. The notes were produced for a broadcast of Monday, 27 September 2010, and form the basis of a live on-air discussion about conservative and traditionalist themes that can be inferred from items of popular music. Radio Carpe Diem is Australia’s only paleoconservative and traditionalist radio programme and can be accessed online or free to air at 88.9FM at 8:00pm to 10:00pm Mondays (Sydney, Australia). Readers’ comments are welcome here at SydneyTrads. Listeners are encouraged to tune in and engage in the discussion.

An Ode to the Private Life

Lonestar_-_My_Front_Porch_Looking_InTonight’s conservative song will be familiar to “Carpe” listeners as will its themes. It’s a modern Country classic about family, about building a private life in the public world, about the wonder and the love that is Gods’ creation. It’s from a band which is more widely listened to in Australia and around the world than you might first suspect. It’s like the voice of the silent majority, seemingly quiet but heard and more importantly felt by the many.

Background

“Lonestar” began in 1992 as a band named Texassee. This name was derived from the fact that all five founding members were natives of Texas, and met in Nashville, Tennessee’s “Opryland USA” theme park. The original line-up consisted of lead singer rhythm guitarist Richie McDonald (Lubbock), lead guitarist Michael Britt (Fort Worth), drummer Keech Rainwater (Plano), keyboardist Dean Sams (Garland), and bass guitarist/co-lead vocalist John Rich (Amarillo). The band first played at a concert in Nashville in 1993 and had by that time changed its name to “Lonestar” which is of course a reference to their beloved State of Texas.

“Lonestar”made its debut on the Billboard country music charts in 1995 with the Top 10 single “Tequila Talkin.” Since then, they have amassed a total of twenty-seven singles on the country charts, with nine of those singles reaching Number One. Their biggest hit was 1999’s “Amazed,” a crossover hit that reached Number One on both the country charts and the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first single to do so since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” in 1983. “Amazed” has been covered by Bonnie Tyler and Boys II Men – the latter being on high rotation in Australia to this day. [Play 1.00-1.30]. So listeners there’s are not just a bunch of hicks from the Boondocks but major international recording stars, whose lyrics have been heard by millions around the world (and are no doubt being played by Richard Mercer on commercial radio even as we speak).

“My Front Porch Looking In” reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2003. It was the first single from the band’s 2003 album “From There to Here: Greatest Hits.”

The song is an ode in which the singer describes how the sight of his beautiful wife and two adorable children is far better than anything including his “panoramic view” of his backyard or “the paintings from the air, brushed by the hand of God.” He also describes that after seeing the whole world, he “can’t wait to get back home to the one He made for me.”

Notes for the Discussion

The first verse opens with a statement of humble roots “The only ground I ever owned was sticking to my shoes”. Our singer was not a land owner, one who inherited his property, he has worked for his land and made his good fortune and built his “home”. By implication perhaps he is also one that worked for his family. He then describes the natural environment (sun, moon) and man-made environment (fences, fields) in all its beauty but goes on to state that this view cannot beat the view “Looking in” into the home and household of the singer.

The chorus, repeated after each verse describes this household which is in substance the singer’s two children and wife being “the view that I love the most”. The words are very affectionate and personal and speak of the love of a husband and a father:

There’s a carrot top who can barely walk,
With a sippy cup of milk,
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong,
‘Cause she likes to dress herself,
And the most beautiful girl holding both of them,
And the view I love the most,
Is my front porch looking in.

In the second verse we again see that our singer was a worker, travelling to earn his keep – his “riches” have not come easy. Again he compares the beautiful sights he has seen, sights he believes God made, to the home he returns to, also something he considers God made. This is followed again by the chorus. The middle 8 of the song is a short passage about understanding what beauty is about, again, being the private world of the family. The song finishes with two repeats of the chorus again emphasising the primacy of the “home” being the love contained in it.

Whilst we easily see the obvious nugget in this expression for the love and comfort that family life is to a man. However I think there is another even greater nugget to this song. Ultimately it is about affirming the primacy of those conservative home building virtues in the private sphere over and above the material aspects of the public life, being the land and the buildings and status of being a property owner. This is very important for we live in a world where such a moral stand is under threat by vacuous materialism and status seeking consumption. Like all material things this is a dead end, producing nice things but not making true happiness.

So here we have a song about the meaning of life and the richness that is found in those good conservative values, a wealth far beyond the material. This song resonates with all of us, we might not remember the artists name but there are millions out there that not only listen to this song but accept its major premise, live the life espoused in it and feel the love expressed by it. Their names are not familiar, their voices may be silent but they are listening and they are everywhere.

Lyrics

Oh yeah,
Yeah oh yeah,

The only ground I ever owned was sticking to my shoes,
Now I look at my front porch and this panoramic view,
I can sit and watch the fields fill up,
With rays of glowing sun,
Or watch the moon lay on the fences,
Like that’s where it was hung,
My blessings are in front of me,
It’s not about the land,
I’ll never beat the view,
From my front porch looking in

There’s a carrot top who can barely walk,
With a sippy cup of milk,
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong,
‘Cause she likes to dress herself,
And the most beautiful girl holding both of them,
And the view I love the most,
Is my front porch looking in, yeah.

I’ve travelled here and everywhere,
Following my job,
I’ve seen the paintings from the air,
Brushed by the hand of God,
The mountains and the canyons reach from sea to shining sea,
But I can’t wait to get back home,
To the one he made for me,
It’s anywhere I’ll ever go and everywhere I’ve been,
Nothing takes my breath away,
Like my front porch looking in.

There’s a carrot top who can barely walk,
With a sippy cup of milk,
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong,
‘Cause she likes to dress herself,
And the most beautiful girl holding both of them,
Yeah the view I love the most,
Is my front porch looking in.

I see what beautiful is about,
When I’m looking in,
Not when I’m looking out.

There’s a carrot top who can barely walk,
With a sippy cup of milk,
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong,
‘Cause she likes to dress herself,
And the most beautiful girl holding both of them,
Yeah the view I love the most.

Oh, the view I love the most,
Is my front porch looking in,
Yeah,
Oh, there’s a carrot top who can barely walk,
(From my front porch looking in)
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong, yeah,
And the most beautiful girl,
(Beautiful girl,
From my front porch looking in)
Holding both of them,
Oh, yeah.

– Dominik Giemza

The writer is a legal practitioner and the co-host of Carpe Diem Radio’s regular segment: the “Conservative Song” . The above notes were drafted for a live and on air debate about conservative and traditionalist themes which can be found in popular music. Listeners can access Radio Carpe Diem either on air at 2RSR 88.9FM in the greater Sydney region, each Monday between 8:00pm and 10:00pm, or streaming live via TuneIn.com. Feedback is welcome.

SydneyTrads is the internet portal and communication page of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum: an association of young professionals who form part of the Australian paleoconservative, traditionalist conservative, and independent right.
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