I’ll admit that the first time I heard Lainey Wilson’s ACM award-winning song “Things A Man Oughta Know,” I felt a little self-conscious. “Oh great, here’s another list of manly stuff I need to stop sucking at.”
“I can hook a trailer on a two-inch hitch
I can shoot a shotgun, I can catch a fish
I can change a tire on the side of a road
Yeah, I know a few things a man oughta know”
Sunday at Stagecoach, though, she let me off the hook… sort of.
As she introduced the final song of her set, she told the crowd that it’s not a song about changing tires or catching fish, despite what that first verse sounds like. On stage, Lainey declared:
“You can YouTube that shit.”
It was straight fire from Lainey that drew some laughs from the crowd and a big sigh of relief from me. Because the one time I changed a tire on the side of the road, it took me forever. And when I catch fish, it’s mostly luck (except for that one time at Convict Lake when that trout I spotted out past the rocks didn’t stand a chance).
There’s more to being a man than fishing and shooting and changing tires, and I was like “Hell yeah, Lainey!” while I sipped on a Bud and flexed for no reason. But then I listened to the song, free of my surface-level manly expectations, and realized I wasn’t off the hook after all.
The lyrics build a heartbreaking and challenging image of all the hard, emotional work that it takes to maintain a relationship, the type of manly stuff that isn’t as obvious or fun to talk about as fishing and cars and beer.
Lainey and the couple of guys (Jason Nix and Jonathan Singleton) who share writing credits on the song, speak truth to men. And the high character, manly stuff they’re talking about, and what I want to be known for as a man, won’t show up during my late night, YouTube binges.
Lainey was the perfect person to sing this one out in the desert sun. She showed that crowd her rising star power, and she made me think. And getting me to think about anything but my headache or my sunburn on the third day of a country music festival was something.
Now excuse me while I go fire up YouTube before fishing season starts around here….
And since “Things A Man Oughta Know” isn’t on YouTube, here’s a rockin’ performance of “Straight Up Sideways.”