Randy Travis's arrest sounded like nothing more than the opening verse to a country song.
The singer is drunk, late at night outside a Baptist church, drinking wine out of the bottle. If that doesn't set you up for a redemptive last verse after you've called to mind going to chuch with your strong-but-silent Daddy, nothing will.
As it turns out, country singers have a habit of getting arrested for things that sound like they come from a country song. Goes with the territory, we guess.
Like these five:
5. Kenny Chesney Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw were in the country-music mecca of Buffalo, New York, when they spotted a mounted policeman's horse standing idly by. Chesney leapt up and took off, and McGraw rumbled with officers who tried to give chase. Alcohol was possibly involved.
We envision a rowdy rocker with a sing-along chorus, maybe with the line "When it's time to ride, you ride."
4. George Jones, Lawnmower Man Country legend George Jones wasn't busted by anyone but Tammy Wynette in this incident, but we're counting it anyway. (We think we'd rather be busted by the cops than a pissed-off Tammy.)
Knowing Jones was jonesing for a drink, Wynette took the keys to every car the couple owned, knowing Possum would not walk the 10 miles to Beaumont and beautiful, beguiling alcohol.
Wynette didn't think about the property's riding lawnmower, but Jones did, and he took it down the main highway to the blessed relief of the bottle, until Tammy woke up and followed his trail.
Jones turned the incident into a song, so we don't have to imagine one:
3. Johnny Paycheck, food critic You shot a man in Reno just to watch him die? Paycheck shot a man in Ohio just because he disagreed about whether venison stew or turtle soup was better. ""I'm no country hick!" he yelled before he sent a shot that grazed the man's head, and that's as good a title for a song as any.
2. Billy Joe Shaver Just like Paycheck, courtroom testimony provides the title for Billy Joe Shaver's arrest song. Just before shooting a man outside a bar, Shaver asked him, "Where do you want it?" That's a title.
Like George Jones, though, Shaver has beaten us to the punch. He collaborated with longtime friend Willie Nelson on "Wacko from Waco":
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
I'm a wacko from Waco, ain't no doubt about it, I shot a man there in the head (but can't talk much about it). He was trying to shoot me, but he took too long to aim. Anybody in my place, woulda done the same. I don't start fights - I finish fights, That's the way I'll always be. I'm a wacko from Waco, you best not mess with me.
1. David Allan Coe Let's just say that if you can't get a song out of living in a Tennessee cave after being busted by the IRS, country music is not your field.