Kid Rock Bridges Rock and Country on Special TV Show
Kid Rock fans got a bonus when they showed up for the singer's taping of 'VH1 Storytellers' at the Factory in Franklin, just south of Nashville. Not only was this the first time in its 12 years that the show has filmed in Nashville, Kid Rock performed a full show instead of just picking seven or eight tunes, per the show's norm.
The Detroit native, who calls Nashville his second home, soon had the room rocking with songs that dated back to 1998's 'Bawitdaba' and as recent as a yet unfinished song titled 'Midwest Fall.'
"I'm gonna take you on a journey from 'Devil Without A Cause' to 'Rock 'n Roll Jesus'," he told the stage as he first walked onstage.
As the last note filtered through the air, Kid Rock had made good on his promise. He was personable and relaxed as he played for two-and-a-half hours and ran through 20 songs.
One of the distinctions of 'VH1 Storytellers' is that the performer becomes a storyteller, and Kid Rock proved he can communicate with an audience through spoken word just as well as through vocals. His story about the late Joe C recording his part of the hit 'Devil Without A Cause' had the crowd laughing, but when he recalled the story of the USS Cole being attacked, and how a soldier played his song 'American Badass' as the crippled ship left the harbor ten days after the terrorist bomb put a huge hole in the vessel, the audience applauded both the singer and the soldiers.
At one point, Kid Rock paused to say a word of thanks to the artists who taught him about music. The singer left home at the age of 15 and found a haven among black artists in Motor City . "Black people taught me to feel the music and what the lyrics of hip hop were all about and I'm forever indebted to them," the musician explained. He went on to explain his philosophy of life and music, saying, "If everyone else is doing it, I'm not doing it." It's a philosophy that has put him on opposing sides sometimes, but in the long run it has worked well for him as he's sold more than 25 million albums since his first recording in 1990.
The fact that Kid Rock has a second home in Nashville is testament to his love for country music and his association with some of its major players. He recorded a duet with Hank Williams Jr. in 2001, 'In Country Music You Just Can't Say the F Word,' and he taped a 'CMT Crossroads' with Williams around the same time. The singer also tried his hand at writing a new country song called 'Twice As Hot,' which he sang for fans at the VH-1 taping.
"I love country music and this song is a fun country song," he told the crowd, introducing the song. "Everyone knows about my marriage. Well we all make mistakes, so I was writing all kinds of songs with horrible lyrics and one day I was on a flight and the first verse of this song just came to me. This is the kind of song that will play on Lower Broadway (music area in Nashville ) at Tootsie's or at The Stage."
A little later, the singer gave the audience insight into the man he becomes when he's not onstage. "When I'm off stage I stay humble and I thank God for my life and what I get to do." He hastened to add, "But when I step on stage nothing is any bigger than me," and launched into his hit 'Cocky.'
As the show neared its finale, Kid Rock introduced his hit, 'Amen,' by saying, "I feel as a songwriter this is the best song I've ever written. Somebody told me that as a songwriter I needed to feel what the climate was around me, listen to what people were saying and write something relative to what is going on in the world. It was very challenging for me. I think I have the ability to bring people together by speaking the truth and that's what I tried to do with this song."
Kid Rock's single 'All Summer Long' was an international smash, crossing over into the top five on the country charts as well as hitting the rock and pop charts around the world. The songwriter explained how he wrote the song, telling the audience, "To me ' Sweet Home Alabama ' is the best song ever written," which drew thunderous applause. "I took elements of early hip hop, what we were doing in basements back then, and then I thought no one has ever taken these songs and wrote their own original melody and lyrics on top of the old songs, so that's what I did."
'VH1 Storytellers: Kid Rock' will air on Thanksgiving, November 27, at 9 PM ET.