This song first appeared in the public record in July of 2020 on an EP The Bellamy Brothers released called Bucket List. And despite it speaking directly to the state of country music and old men’s place in it—which might seem like something a site called ‘Saving Country Music’ would bite hard on—the prevalence of these sort of country protest songs over the years has resulted in a reluctance to try and showcase them all, and a fair bit of fatigue and apathy from the public over them.
But something about this particular effort has really resonated with traditional country fans young and old, and in a way that elevates it above being “just another country protest song.” The risk you run when you choose to work in the protest subgenre is with so many of these bellyaching odes about how bad country had gotten, you can wind up being as cliche as some of the songs and artists you’re trying to criticize.
What helps this song is The Bellamy Brothers have the skins on the wall to sing something like this from their own perspective, and give it emotional resonance it may not otherwise have. Add in the caramel voice of John Anderson as a collaborator, and it really sets “No Country Music For Old Men” off as something that speaks deeply to the disillusioned country music fan.
After finding some bubbling up reception for the song, The Bellamy Brothers re-released “No Country Music For Old Men” as a standalone single on January 29th of this year. This was a smart move, since most any song runs the risk of being buried on an EP. Then on February 4th, they released a video for it, putting it in front of even more people. The song has kind of taken on a life of its own since then, and for good reasons. People do feel disenfranchised by much of today’s country music, and this song touches a nerve with them.
“No Country Music For Old Men” also speaks to people due to all of the country greats we lost in 2020. David Bellamy said he wrote the song on March 20th, which is the day Kenny Rogers passed away. As the year went on and we continued to lose more and more country legends, the song just continued to grow in poignancy. David Bellamy says when he was writing it, he also couldn’t help but hear John Anderson singing it.
The Bellamy Brothers have always been a rather unusual outfit in country music, from their signature hit “Let Your Love Flow” with its more folk rock feel, to doing arguably the first country rap song (called “Country Rap”), even if they were being a little ironic. They’ve remained strangely in touch by touching on little zeitgeist nerves that may feel like goofy dad jokes to some, but still resonate with many. This is what “No Country Music For Old Men” does.