I'm not tryin' to put down no big cities
But the things they write about us is just a bore
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Baldcypress Swamp in Louisiana
Most every American has heard at least the first verse of "America the Beautiful." But it's ironic haw few have really felt
it. When was the last time you actually saw amber waves of grain? Or a fruited plain? Some Americans may not even catch of glimpse of all that many mountains in their time, and as for spacious skies, there's only so much of that you can see in between the skyscrapers.
No, the pretty parts of America are the parts that most Americans disparagingly refer to as "flyover country." Which is fine, but you have to consider that big cities with tall buildings and pavement everywhere weren't why our founders considered this country worth colonizing, or worth fighting a revolution to own.
Lynyrd Skynyrd uses "All I Can Do Is Write About It" to decry the paving of America. Not in a tree-hugging, save-the-owls way, but because open spaces and beautiful nature is a happier place for humans to live, too. That's why so many people retire to the country, after all. The song especially focuses on the Deep South, which was always Lynyrd Skynyrd's stomping ground, particularly the part commonly referred to as "Dixie."
For a refresher for you Yanks and Westies, Dixie covers the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Some other states bordering the area are sometimes included, but only because they share some history. Today Dixie somewhat overlaps with what we call "the Bible Belt," for the high population of socially conservative evangelical Protestants, Baptists, and other Christians. If you visit there, you'll see what's worth protecting. You can't appreciate it from the desert, and you can't really appreciate it driving through it in a car, either.
Of course, except for major cities, Dixie still has plenty of green hills, open spaces, she-gators protecting their young and so on, even today. but it is true that America, as a whole, gets more crowded and paved over every day, and as the lyrics refrain over and over, all you can do is write about it. Who can't identify with the sentiment that even if the progress of society doesn't sit well with you, other people seem to want it more, and they'll have it?
Here's a last chilling bit of trivia: "All I Can Do Is Write About It" was written and performed in 1976, on their Gimme Back My Bullets
album. The verse repeats "I can see the concrete slowly creepin'. Lord take me and mine before that comes." It was written by Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins. As any Lynyrd Skynyrd fan can tell you, the next year was the 1977 Convair 240 crash, which killed members of the band and crew, including Ronnie Van Zant. Allen Collins escaped the crash with major injuries, but survived.
Believe it... or not.
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