Friday Five: Tattoos

Juli Thanki | April 8th, 2011

It seems like more people than ever are sporting tattoos; here are a few of my favorite country songs about ‘em (it must be said that an honorable mention goes to the opening lines of Lucinda Williams’ “Right in Time”). Are any of you sporting country music-themed ink? Show us your tats!

  • Inside Out5. “Tattoo” – Missy Raines & The New Hip

    Raines covered this Laurie Lewis song on 2009’s Inside Out. It’s a sultry, jazzgrass tune about wearing someone’s name “like a merit badge of love.”

  • Cherryholmes IV: Common Threads4. “Tattoo of a Smudge” – Cherryholmes

    According to bluegrass blogger Second Cousin Curly, this fierce, Grammy-nominated tune is based on the Sharpie smudges left on musicians’ hands after signing autographs at the merch table.

  • Dangerous Spirits3. “Crimson Dragon Tattoo” – Ray Wylie Hubbard

    This is one eerie tune, as the dude with the dragon tattoo hears said dragon whisper his name and “burn on [his] arm like the truth.” It’s like that X-Files episode where Jodie Foster is the voice of that pinup tattoo, only better.
    Check out a killer version from Hayes Carll.

  • Pimps & Preachers2. “Love Scar” – Paul Thorn

    Paul Thorn is the greatest artist you’re not listening to. Check out this song (from last year’s Pimps and Preachers) about a woman who gets inked, has a one-night stand with the guy who inspired the tattoo, and is soon left alone with her new “love scar.”

  • Coal1. “Coal Tattoo” – Kathy Mattea

    West Virginian Billy Edd Wheeler wrote this song that has been covered by acts like The Kingston Trio, Hazel Dickens, and Mattea on her masterful record Coal. The “strange tattoo” on the miner’s head wasn’t a deliberate inking; rather, it’s a blue mark left by some falling coal that almost killed him.

  1. David
    April 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Sammy Kershaw’s “Your Tattoo” comes to mind as well.

  2. Stormy
    April 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Eagle over Angel by The Brother’s Phelps is really good.

  3. Brody Vercher
    April 8, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I’m partial to Eleven Hundred Springs’ “Long Haired Tattooed Hippie Freaks.” (Amazon)

  4. Mike Parker
    April 8, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I always liked Tony Lane’s “Tattoos and Scars”

  5. numberonecountryfan
    April 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    What about Texas Tattoo by the Gibson/Miller Band?

  6. Rick
    April 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I’d like someone in Texas to do a mash-up of “Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother” and the 1100 Springs song Brody mentioned above! That way the proud redneck mother’s son could be kickin’ the asses of those “Long Haired Tattooed Hippie Freaks” while raisin’ hell! (lol)

    I’ve never particularly cared for tattoos or those folks who have them as they tend to be overwhelmingly Obamavoter types. Most of us conservatives consider tattoos to be roughly the human body equivalent of graffiti no matter how artistic they may be. That being said I wholeheartedly agree with Stormy about the Brothers Phelps song “Eagle Over Angel” due to the truly palpable emotional impact of that song. I can’t begin to imagine how many tears have fallen into beer mugs at biker bars all over the country when that song played on the jukebox…

  7. Matt B
    April 9, 2011 at 1:24 am

    What no “Tattoo’s On This Town?”

  8. Paul W Dennis
    April 9, 2011 at 7:10 am

    I love “Coal Tattoo” but the version by its writer, Billy Edd Wheeler, is easily the best version of the song

  9. Dan
    April 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I know lots of people don’t like Jason Aldean’s music, but how did “Tattoos On This Town” get left off the list?

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