As a child I was so convinced that telling the truth was a universally important value that I assumed it in all media surrounding me. Nobody ever created a misleading advertisement, nobody ever made a story ‘based on a true story’ that wasn’t true, and nobody ever, ever made something up for a song. I imagined there was a very clever authority group that oversaw the release of songs onto the radio that I was allowed to listen to, the songs that my parents would let me hear, and that they were all, in some basic way, true. I believed because of Indian Outlaw that Tim McGraw was actually part-Cherokee, and that Alan Jackson once was married for no good reason to a waitress (who he probably divorced, and was probably a sinful, filthy adulterer, unless he’d asked Jesus for forgiveness, not to be too sure either way).
Raised on this diet of hymns and country music, you can imagine how shocked I was when I finally pieced together the narrative in The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia.