The Song Remains the Shame

Oct 24, 2006 at 4:06 pm
Oh, say can you see my mullet?
As a diehard St. Louis music fan, it is with great shame and utter bafflement that I must inform you that tonight and tomorrow night at Busch Stadium the national anthem will be sung by, respectively, Trace Adkins and Billy Ray Cyrus. (Thursday's performer has yet to be announced.)

Unlike Detroit, which offered up pregame singers Bob Seger and Anita Baker, both of whom are Detroit natives, neither Adkins or Cyrus has any connection to St. Louis.

Now, the St. Louis region has spawned many musicians, including, in no particular order, Chuck Berry, Nelly, Michael McDonald, Gretchen Wilson (who sang the anthem before game four of the 2004 Cards/Red Sox matchup), Sheryl Crow, Fontella Bass, Jay Farrar, the Bottle Rockets, Bobby McFerrin and Chingy, but apparently none of them passed muster with Major League Baseball, which decides the pregame roster.

Instead we get Louisiana native Adkins and Kentucky bred Cyrus. What's worse, St. Louis singers didn't even warrant the seventh-inning-stretch "God Bless America" slot, occupied by country singer Jo Dee Messina (Holliston, Massachusetts) in game three and Sugarland (Atlanta) in game four.

Neither the Cardinals organization or Major League Baseball returned calls seeking an explanation, although Trace Adkins' publicist explained that while the singer isn't from St. Louis, "He's from Louisiana, and [St. Louis is] north of there."

Uh, okay.

We'd give anything to hear chrome-toned Son Volt singer Jay Farrar belt out the national anthem. Unlike, say, Nelly, who can't sing his way out of a paper bag, Farrar's sturdy, assured voice would make magic of the anthem. As a compromise, we'd be giddy to hear Kris Kristofferson, who's gigging at the Pageant on Wednesday night. Or even the Indigo Girls (yeah, right), who are in town on Thursday night.

But no, we get a couple of redneck mulletheads to reinforce the notion that the Midwest is a cultural wasteland. Feh.

-Randall Roberts