In Which There Are A Lot of Places That Are Hard to Reach

Brad Paisley: Country Music’s Greatest Bard

by Claire Howorth

When you spend 18 years listening to Kix 106, the only country station whose Memphis signal makes it clear across the Mississippi border static-free, and you lost your virginity somewhere down a dirt road littered with rusted Bud cans, then your heart’s had occasion to attach itself to many a honky-tonk ballad.

Any of Johnny’s, natch. Ditto for Hank, Waylon, and Merle. And for ladies, Tanya Tucker takes it home with “Delta Dawn.” Of the modern crossover variety, you have Garth and Clint, Vince and Alison. But there’s a new star on the rise: Brad Paisley.

Paisley’s recent hit, simply titled “Ticks,” is perhaps the greatest genius to spring from the rural zeitgeist.

“Ticks” – Brad Paisley (mp3)

In an age when songs like “Redneck Woman” and “Piss Up a Rope” delight the FM frequencies, “Ticks” is perhaps not remarkable for the content of its arguably crude lyrics, but for its brilliance in its proposed romantic endeavor-checking for ticks. And for that, it is sheer poetry.

When this bona fide country girl watched his performance at the third least-watched Grammys in history, my mind clocked backed to, lo, many years ago, up on the dial and down in the grass…

Herewith, and with just a little ado, the lyrics:

Every time you take a sip
In this smoky atmosphere
You press that bottle to your lips
And I wish I was your beer

Here, we have our first phallic reference. In real life, our Brad’s married to Annie Banks—you know, good, sweet, innocent little Annie from Father of the Bride? Don’t you think Steve Martin would go ballistic if he knew some guy in a bar was singing about how he wants to stick his teelolly in Annie’s mouth?!


Paisley & Kim Williams

An’ In the small there of your back
Your jeans are playing peek-a-boo
I’d like to see the other half
Of your butterfly tattoo.

Hmmm. I’ve never thought a girl’s derrière hanging out of her pants was sexy, more just the other side of the equal sign in the algebra of plump asses and tight jeans.

As the not-so-proud owner of my very own butterfly tattoo, I can vouch there’s nothing so great about that. Crack n’ ink now gives Brad a useful idea…

Hey that gives me an idea
Let’s get out of this bar
Drive out into the country
And find a place to park.

Okay. Quaint enough suggestion. But then Brad gets a little wild:

‘Cause I’d like to see you out in the moonlight
I’d like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I’d like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I’d like to check you for ticks.

Really?! Would you? Because anyone who’s ever been actually checked for ticks can testify that it’s a decidedly unromantic activity.


When my cousins and I would come hollering back to the house from the kudzu jungle, my mother and aunt would strip us down and check us out. Mama and Mary Hartwell were never suggestive about it, but Brad, well, he makes pediatric healthcare sound positively arousing.

I know the perfect little path
Out in these woods I used to hunt
Don’t worry babe I’ve got your back
And I’ve also got your front

(I can think of another suitable word that rhymes with “hunt.”)

I’d hate to waste a night like this
I’ll keep you safe you wait and see
The only thing allowed to crawl all over you
When we get there is me.

And now he’s fully copped to being a provincial mauler. Much in common with my high school paramours, a couple of whom are now employed at the 7-Eleven.


another v. hot tick

You know every guy in here tonight
Would like to take you home
But I’ve got way more class than them
Babe that ain’t what I want.

Right. More class. My thoughts exactly. He doesn’t want to take you home and subject you to bedbugs and other domestic creepy-crawlies, Heavens no! He wants to push you down in the dirt and thoroughly inspect your body for blood-sucking mites.

‘Cause I’d like to see you out in the moonlight
I’d like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I’d like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I’d like to check you for ticks.

Refrain, blah blah blah.


An’ oooo You never know where one might be
An’ oooo There’s lots of places that are hard to reach


Yeah I been there – I gotcha.

I’d like to see you out in the moonlight
I’d like to kiss you baby way back in the sticks
I’d like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I’d like to check you for ticks.

And I’d sure like to check you for ticks…

There we have it! My new sexual anthem! The sylvan version of playing doctor! And he’s made it so appealing that were he to suggest rolling in a lush bed of poison ivy, I’d happily oblige.

Claire Howorth is a contributor to This Recording. She last wrote for these pages on her desire to FMK the Democratic candidates for president.



“Ramblin’ Man” – Waylon Jennings (mp3)

“Strawberry Wine” – Deana Carter (mp3)

“Desperado” – Clint Black (mp3)

“I Like It, I Love It” – Tim McGraw (mp3)

“Mississippi Girl” – Faith Hill (mp3)


portrait of the author as a young faith hill

“Thunder Rolls” – Garth Brooks (mp3)

“Pretty Face” – Oh Susanna (mp3)

“Poison Ivy” – The Coasters (mp3)


“I Hate Everything” – George Strait (mp3)

“Heartland” – George Strait (mp3)

“Cross My Heart” – George Strait (mp3)

“Cowboy Take Me Away” – Dixie Chicks (mp3)


natalie maines

“Piss Up A Rope” – Ween (mp3)

“Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochie” – Alan Jackson (mp3)

“Redneck Woman” – Gretchen Wilson (mp3)

alison krauss & robert plant

“Oh Atlanta” – Alison Krauss (mp3)

“Family Tradition” – Hank Williams Jr. (mp3)

“Country State of Mind” – Hank Williams Jr. (mp3)



“Delta Dawn” – Tanya Tucker (mp3)


Two books to whet the whistle.

The collector makes her mark on the unsuspecting male.

Tess spoonfeeds you sunshine.


kim williams/bride of frankenstein

4 thoughts on “In Which There Are A Lot of Places That Are Hard to Reach

  1. Hey Claire, i have some very fond memories of those dirt roads…in particular the one to Asa’s land. Your friend, D.F.

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