The title alone will make some of my conservative readers cringe, but place aside your politics and give the boys behind the “wellRED” comedy tour a chance. “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Out Of The Dark” is not as political of a book as one would think. It’s an unapologetic celebration of all things redneck, written by three guys who’ve lived the life, and a reflection on how the South can do better going forward. Trae Crowder (the original “Liberal Redneck”), Corey Forrester, and Drew Morgan hit with this book so hard if it were a baseball, you could consider it a home run ball that left the stadium, crashed through the window of a pickup truck in the parking lot, and then set off about three hundred fireworks in the back seat destroying a crate of liquor in the process. It’s that damned good.
The book begins with a discussion of the etymology behind the word “redneck” and how it became a slur against poor white people from the South. Because the wellRED boys aren’t ones to mince words, they go into detail about how the term “redneck” was taken back by Southerners, why other slurs like “cracker” and “peckerwood” just don’t work, and how to spot a real redneck from a fake one.
Once the reader gets past why the wellRED comedy team has no problems admitting they’re from the South, or why they refuse to “lose the accent” to pander to mainstream audiences, no subject is off the table. From what constitutes acceptable country music (including a playlist of the Liberal Rednecks’ favorite hip hop groups), to alternatives to the Confederate Battle Flag, Trae, Corey, and Drew go after every subject near and dear to a redneck’s heart. They discuss the love and odd relationship with our Mamaws and Papaws. Why Church is a big thing in the South and why some Southerners try so damned hard to get out of going on Sunday. And the biggest problem of them all is something Trae, Drew and Corey tackle hard: why Taylor Swift is considered a country music artist and why in the name of Aunt Tammy no one has called this incident of cultural appropriation out yet.
In case you thought this was just a feel good book and a celebration of all things Southern, hold your horses. The Liberal Rednecks aren’t afraid to talk about the political and social issues concerning them. The war on drugs, gun control, and racism are all areas they discuss in detail and offer suggestions on how to get out of the loop the South continually seems stuck in with regards to each. Trae, Drew, and Corey don’t pull punches, and while I may disagree heavily with them on some of the points raised in the “Liberal Redneck Manifesto” they actually made me laugh in the process. If you can make me laugh when I disagree with you on a point, you’ve scored one for your side, and the wellRED boys do so with flair in “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto.”
The book is interspersed with “Porch Talk” segments from Trae, Drew, and Corey. These are personalized segments where each of the wellRED team talks about their personal life experiences to the reader. I won’t go into detail, because I think this book worthy of your time and money, but I will say Corey’s tribute to his Granny Bain and Trae’s final porch talk both moved me to tears. They were both strong, moving, and inspiring. You can’t ask more from people who make their living making people laugh. The porch talks are the authors getting as vulnerable as possible, and it makes the entire book real for everyone who reads it.
Prior to this book’s release, a tome called “Hillbilly Elegy” was released to critical acclaim as the de facto explainer for life in the South. I can tell you after reading “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto” whoever tells you that is full of shit and probably a Northerner. Shame the person with the Cafe Au Lait, tell them they’re wrong, and then make an offer of peace by getting them to read “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto” if they want to see what life in the South is really like.
It’s worth your time, money, and energy. You can buy the book at Amazon or most book stores, but I recommend you order the book through the wellRED website here. It’s a great way to get in the head of most Southerners, get a good idea of what life is really like in the South, and have a good laugh and think about all of it.
*Disclosure: I’ve had the privilege of sharing a stage with Trae Crowder, and Drew Morgan I’ve interviewed on the radio. I consider both friends.