Music

Miranda Lambert's 'They've Closed Down the Honky Tonks' Gives Country Music a Clean Bill of Health

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At a time when Alan Jackson has some rolling their eyes and others excitedly sharing vapid memes over his claims about the state of country music, Miranda Lambert reminds us old souls that a lot of the things we've long enjoyed were still going strong before the pandemic effectively shut down live performances.

Lambert's "They've Closed Down the Honky Tonks" is an acoustic, no-frills rundown of why the "Tin Man" singer fought tears during her return to the stage at Billy Bob's Texas.

"Y'all they've closed down the honky tonks / And now my world ain't turning / The jukebox ran out of change / And the neon lights ain't buzzing / There ain't nothin' sadder / Than covering Haggard / And nobody singing along / Y'all they've closed down the honky tonks," goes Lambert's latest songwriting showpiece, which she wrote shortly after COVID-19 turned performers' lives upside down.

It was produced by Jon Randall and brings a similar vibe as Lambert, Randall and Jack Ingram's less-is-more album The Marfa Tapes.

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The new song appears in The Marfa Tapes Film, which is currently streaming on Apple TV. The documentary by director Spencer Peeples covers the three collaborators' five-day creative retreat in the West Texas town of Marfa.

"The whole idea of [The Marfa Tapes] was trying to show people or let people listen to the moment of creation," Ingram told Rolling Stone. "It takes time to record [songs] with a full band, and then we got to do a demo...it's almost like making a whole movie. And then by the time you get into the studio, with the session band and everybody else, you're light years away from the moment of inspiration and creation."

"They've Closed Down the Honky Tonks" Lyrics

No bartenders
No guitars with B-Benders
No two-steppin' shuffles
No shiny belt buckles
No sawdust in sight
No cold Lone Star Light
Well, they've mopped all the floors
Locked all the doors
And turned out the lights

Y'all they've closed down the honky tonks
And now my world ain't turning
The jukebox ran out of change
And the neon lights ain't buzzing
There ain't nothin' sadder
Than covering Haggard
And nobody singing along
Y'all they've closed down the honky tonks

There's no Broken Spoke
Dim lights or thick smoke
No more rowdy and reckless
No more Billy Bob's Texas
No barstool backsliding
No Gilley's bull riding
No more last call
No boots in Gruene Hall
Damn, that ain't right

They've closed down the honky tonks
And now my world ain't turning
The jukebox ran out of change
And the neon lights ain't buzzing
There ain't nothin' sadder
Than covering Haggard
And nobody singing along
Y'all they've closed down the honky tonks

Y'all they've closed down the honky tonks

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Miranda Lambert's 'They've Closed Down the Honky Tonks' Gives Country Music a Clean Bill of Health