surf’s up (but in kentucky?)

kentucky surf

riding the bluegrass surf: a scene from the billie joe armstrong/norah jones music video for ‘kentucky.’

We’re all for big imaginations here at The Musical Box, but a new music video referencing our home state is summoning some serious head scratching.

The clip comes to us from the odd couple of Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones and their splendid 2013 Everly Brothers tribute record Foreverly. The song being illustrated is Kentucky, a loving salute that has subsequently been covered by scores of vintage country and bluegrass artists.

Make no mistake, we love Foreverly. Aside from possessing remarkably natural artist chemistry (an attribute underscored by the train wreck performance at the Grammy Awards in February when Armstrong was instead paired for a Phil Everly tribute with a wildly out-of-tune Miranda Lambert), the duo’s treatment is subtle, summery and ultra-respectful of the unforced harmony singing that made the Everlys’ music so distinctive.

So what’s the problem? Well, it’s not a big deal, really. It’s just that the video chose to show a young couple (not Armstrong and Jones, by the way) enjoying an afternoon of outdoor fun that includes – we kid you not – surfing. Yes, indeed. Nothing captures the natural majesty of the Bluegrass like slapping on a wetsuit, grabbing a surfboard and catching a wave. Last time I checked, though, Lake Cumberland was pretty much at permanent low tide.

The video reminded me of a poster that hung in my father’s office. My dad was an ad man for General Electric. The poster was of Leonardo da Vinci pondering an electric toothbrush, as though it were one of his myriad inventions. The caption: “Plug it in where, Leonardo?”

Of course, if the video for Kentucky turns a few more folks on to the exquisite Foreverly, than more power to it. Besides that, it’s sort of refreshing for Kentucky to now be battling a stereotype rooted in the West Coast instead of the rural south.

You can check out the video here:

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