Lonesome Onry and Mean

When Publicists Attack: Michelle Turley's Godawful "Hard Times"

In terms of sanity, it doesn't usually pay many dividends to look too deeply into what publicists write and email to music writers. If 80 percent of all teachers come from the lowest 20 percent of SAT scores, it's probably a safe assumption to assume approximately the same ratio when it comes to PR grunts.

Lonesome Onry and Mean recently received a tout message on behalf of up-and-coming country singer Michelle Turley from Gurley & Co. in Nashville. According to Gurley & Co., Turley's new single, "Hard Times," is one red-hot number waiting to move up to the top of the charts. Thus reads the press release:

"'Hard Times" is the title of Michelle Turley's debut single but radio is finding it an easy listen as over 109 radio stations have added the song. 'Hard Times' gives a little whimsical twist to some of the real pinch many are. Her voice has been described as part Emmylou Harris and part Paulette Carlson.

"Michelle sings, 'We've been livin through some Hard Times, My back is breakin just to make a little livin, I gotta crummy ole job and it doesn't pay much, Uncle Sam is taken what I'm givin.' The lyrics stop short of the classic Johnny Paycheck anthem. 'Take This Job [and Shove It].'"
Uh... yeah, lady, they damn sure do. In fact, about the only thing they don't stop short of is stupidity and banality.

And somehow LOM fails to see the connection between Paycheck's song and, well, frankly, anything in that entire paragraph. And forget the bad punctuation, incomplete and/or run-on sentences, and hammer-and-tongs word choice - those are entirely separate issues.

But it was Gurley & Co.'s next paragraph that got ol' LOM to feeling a bit spiteful.

"Michelle Turley is originally from Deming, New Mexico, and grew up on a ranch where country music was a huge part of her life. Michelle spent her teen years in Phoenix and later became a top international fashion model for the Ford Agency in New York. Her many clients included, Valentino, Armani, Versace and Donna Karen.

"All through her modeling career she was writing and recording music. A tour to support the album, Dance With Me Tonight, is currently being developed. The album which features a star studded group of musicians who have performed with Kenny Chesney, Linda Ronstadt, Martina McBride and Larry Gatlin will be released by Victorio Records in the Fall."

We don't know about you, but LOM is not yet ready for a Ford Agency model whose clients include Armani, Valentino, and Donna Karen to write, or sing, these lyrics:

"We've been livin through some Hard Times

My back is breakin just to make a little livin

I gotta crummy ole job and it doesn't pay much

Uncle Sam is taken what I'm givin."

Yes, you read it correctly: Uncle Sam is "'taken' what I'm givin."

LOM is sure these sentiments are ripped directly from the fabric of Michelle Turley's life, her day-to-day struggle to pay the bills, keep her head above water and the wolf from the door. Turley is undoubtedly so destitute that she can barely pay Gurley & Co. to promote her.

We feel her pain.

Of course, this is just everyday business in the PR jungles of Nashvegas. No doubt Johnny Paycheck is rolling over in his grave and saying, "What the fuck?"

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William Michael Smith