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HER & Kings County, ‘White Trash (Country Boy)’ — Story Behind the Lyrics

Warner Music Nashville

Brooklyn, N.Y. may seem like an unlikely birthplace for a country band, but HER & Kings County isn’t your typical group. With a mix of bluegrass, hip-hop and straightforward country music, the six-member band introduces their signature sound with ‘White Trash (Country Boy),’ their first country single as a major label act. Lead singer and founding member Monique Staffile talked to The Boot about writing the rowdy party anthem.

‘White Trash (Country Boy)’ came about when we were all on the road. We had a couple days off in Wisconsin and days off for our band means “let’s rent a log cabin in the woods.” In the basement of a lake house during band cocktail hour, Caleb and I were jamming and writing … talking about how awesome life on the road is, and being out of our hometown. New York City changed — it’s all a bunch of rich snobs. Growing up in New York my whole life, I’ve always wanted what I couldn’t have, and that’s someone who is an outlaw, an outcast, a non-conformist and specifically someone who just wants to have a good time no matter what. That spun the idea to write a country-rock anthem.

About half way into writing, Caleb and I needed a refill of our drinks. We went upstairs where the rest of the band was hanging out, did a shot or two — more like three — of some tequila and we started questioning if ‘White Trash (Country Boy)’ was too cheesy. Here we are a band of five guys and one girl, and the band’s gonna sing harmonies about wanting a white trash country boy. We thought it was fun, and hey … I’m not the only girl out there that wants to have fun and a fun guy to join her!

I did once have a boring, suit-and-tie corporate job guy who didn’t know how to have fun and just worked thinking money was gonna bring him happiness. It didn’t, and he wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy … he had to go!

That night, Caleb and I finished the song. The boys worked out their harmony guitar lines, ala Allman Brothers, which later became a hook. I sang the vocals in the bathroom and by 1:00 AM, the whole band and I were listening to the demo and chowed down some mac-and-cheese and went to sleep. A week later, we were playing at Dos Amigos in Texas opening for Pat Green and debuted the song. As soon as the first chorus hit everyone, we looked into the crowd and saw girls singing the words and cowboy hats in the air. We all looked at each other on stage and said, “Damn, I guess we’ll be playing that song again!”

To some, the term “white trash” is offensive, but to thousands of folks we have met in the last five years on the road all over this country, it is badge of honor, and it represents a lifestyle that people are pretty damn proud of. We relate to this lifestyle, and always have.

Caleb echoes the sentiments of the band’s leading lady.

Sometimes when a term has a negative connotation in describing a person or group of people, you can take it, make it yours and own it proudly, there by destroying the negative.

Watch ‘White Trash (Country Boy)’

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