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Home / Articles / Music / CD Reviews /  Travis Whitelaw's Sexarkana
CD Reviews

Travis Whitelaw's Sexarkana

By Randy Harward
Posted // September 23,2009 -

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Travis Whitelaw, Sexarkana 3_stars.gif
Comic country-and-western troubadour Travis Whitelaw has a dirty mind. It’s downright filthy. Could be he’s sick. Or, maybe he’s just a lazy hack. Real funnymen can find absurdity in the day-to-day, so why does he have to work blue?

At first blush, Whitelaw’s bawdy roadhouse rockers and ballads are Larry the Cable Guy simple. He gives it to a snooty feminist (“She Likes It Rough”) and invokes the old chestnut “As Long As I Have a Face (You’ve Got a Place to Sit).” None of those seem terribly crafty, and some have that red-state stank—especially in their country context. “Reel Cowboys,” for example, concerns a Larry-esque character whose wife bamboozles him into seeing Brokeback Mountain, which, he opines, insults the sacred tradition of uber-manly Western films.

Yet “Bristol’s Baby Daddy (The Ballad of Levi’s Johnson)” ain’t the work of a blue-collar hack—it’s a Sarah Palin slam. And “Tits or Tires” (either one’ll break your heart), “Viva Mexico” (singin’ the praises of BJs in TJ) and “My Bozap” (euphemisms are universal) are pretty funny despite being misogynistic, xenophobic/hypocritical (if America’s so great, why do we have to go to Mexico for a donkey show?), and a dick joke.

Whitelaw’s songs epitomize puerility, but we laugh just like when we first heard “Barnacle Bill the Sailor,” “My Ding-A-Ling,” “The Plexiglass Toilet Song” and “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” It’s because everyone, sometime, is horny, fascinated with their own genitalia, or has to do Numbers One or Two. It’s funny ‘cause it’s true.

Whitelaw’s work goes beyond that, though. There are salient social and political points in his music, not just on “Bristol.” Why, he asks, aren’t we as sick of humorless femi-nazis as we are of tight-assed conservative housefraus? One’s as shrill as the other, and often extreme in their views. Are we missing the joke in “Reel Cowboys”? Of course it’s not at all funny when Mr. Manly’s bigotry colors his vote and impinges on the happiness of gays, but watching him get dyspeptic over an offense to something he considers high art—and the thought of him squirming like a slug in a salt pile—is comedy gold.

And as for faces and places to sit, that’s just sweet devotion.

So it could be Sexarkana is some kind of utopia, where everyone is held accountable for their B.S. “I give everyone hell,” Whitelaw says. “That’s my business. On this record, I have fun with Mexicans, feminists, rub n’ tug girls in Korean massage parlors, and dumb rednecks—Ain’t nobody safe.” Whether that leads to actual social progress remains to be seen.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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Post a comment
Posted // November 4,2009 at 15:04

Since when are musicians and comics responsible for "actual social progress"? That's just silly. Seems to me the writer was battling his own morals and convictions when listening to this CD and writing a review. He likes it, but he wants us to know he doesn't like it that much (worried about his reputation maybe?). So, he gives us his version of the story lines of some of the songs - very informative. I've owned this CD for a year now and have enjoyed every single time I played it. Yes, it's offensive and politically incorrect, but so is Family Guy and he's on prime
time and our kids our watching. The lyrics are hilarious and music is very catchy and I always find myself singing along to "She likes it rough" (my personal favorite) - wonder what that says about me as a woman? Sexarkana is not for everyone and that's fine and dandy - but the truth is (whether we would like to confess it or not) Travis serenades us with all those naughty thoughts that often cross our minds - and you know what? It's all


Posted // October 1,2009 at 11:45

It seems like this writer is trying to walk a PC tightrope here (he might run afoul of powers that be at this lefty rag). He wants us to know that this is real offensive but at the same time it's *okay* with him because there is supposedly real social commentary going on. I downloaded this CD a few months ago and for the most part it's hilarious. I didn't really give much thought to who might find it offensive because being offensive is obviously the whole point. He also didn't mention the music at all, which is a shame cuz it's really good.