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Whitney Rose Discusses Her Song Chivalry is Dead
Paradise Blog: This is probably your most rockin’ tune. From the guitar intro a listener knows they are in for a foot-stomping good time. Was it always intended that way or did it evolve?
Whitney Rose: It was an ‘up’ tune from the moment of its conception—it had to be or it would have been at risk of being as sooky as all of my other songs. This might be hard to believe, but fun, happy songs are actually harder to write than sad songs…it’s a conversation I’ve had with a few different songwriters but I always think it’s interesting to point out because the opposite is probably often presumed. I have been going through a bit of a dry spell, writing-wise, and I think that could potentially be attributed to a simultaneous ‘euphoric’ spell…or a hectic nannying schedule, or an addiction to watching all my friends play music around town, or the possibility that my creative well has run dry and I’m washed up before I’ve even released my first record.
Paradise Blog: It’s also quite funny. A great little series of lines is: I fight my battles in a red dot dress/No I ain’t no damsel in distress/If that was still the mind of most/I’d be burnin’ on a post/It don’t break my heart, it hurts my head/But I’m still standing if chivalry is dead. There’s a long tradition of this kind of rueful humour in country songs. Can you discuss a few of your influences in this regard?
Whitney Rose: In 1952 a fellow named Hank Thompson wrote this song called The Wild Side of Life and the main line of the song is him saying that “(he) didn’t know God made honky tonk angels”. Later in the same year the very lovely and clever Kitty Wells wrote an answer song called It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, which is one of my favorite songs. I highly recommend listening to both if you would like to understand why. Locally, it’s the songbook of Jack Marks that can make me laugh the most. I bring him up almost every time, don’t I…
Paradise Blog: I like that the best thing the man in the song is capable of is “comb[ing] his hair.” But surely modern man has something more than this to offer? Do you really think chivalry is dead?
Whitney Rose: Absolutely. Dead as a doornail. What I wouldn’t give to have the man of my dreams climbing up my balcony…unfortunately those things just don’t happen in present day…
Paradise Blog: Where did the idea to write this song come from? Did someone behave particularly un-chivalrously towards you? Was there a series of un-chivalrous, hankee-throwing dudes with wandering hands like leaving you tied to flaming posts and so forth?
Whitney Rose: Oh I don’t know…I like to think the song is a celebration of both the life and death of chivalry. I’m sure there were times it was quite lovely, but I rather enjoy being able to form thoughts and express opinions without being burned at the stake for being a witch. And even though I don’t do it very often, the option to wear pants is kind of nice.
Listen to Chivalry is Dead here.