A Texas songwriter/musician has written an oil patch anthem for American energy independence.
by Joe W. Specht
If the title, “Let’s Drill Baby Drill,” doesn’t immediately catch your attention, then the opening verse of Mack Abernathy and Tres Womack’s spirited number certainly will.
Don’t call us oil field trash—we fill your car with gas
It’s time to realize—hey we ain’t the bad guys
You pull your car to the pump—your tank you wanna fill
But the more you use—the more we gotta drill
The answer is simple—we just gotta get real
We got our own oil—so let’s drill baby drill
Abernathy, who wrote and arranged “Let’s Drill Baby Drill,” describes the origins of the song. “It all started at an oil-sponsored show I was involved with in East Texas with Johnny Lee, Johnny Rodriquez, and the Turnpike Troubadours. When I left the gig, I saw a bumper sticker on a pickup that said ‘Don’t Call Me Oilfield Trash.’ I added that to the notes I put on my phone for reference when I’m writing songs. In the next couple of days, I heard a newscaster say ‘we never have anything good to report about the oil industry,’ and it just kind of clicked in my mind with ‘Don’t Call Me Oilfield Trash.’”
Patch pride has been a recurring theme in oil field songs at least since the Arab oil embargo of 1973. But what was once considered an insult has morphed into a statement of self-esteem. As country music superstar Toby Keith loudly sang and proclaimed, “I’m oil field trash and proud as I can be.”
“Let’s Drill Baby Drill” is clearly a 21st century commentary, replete with references to hydraulic fracturing—“Get on with the drilling get on with the fracking”—and to alternative sources of energy. However, “Let’s Drill Baby Drill” does not ignore the complexity of the subject matter and the ongoing exchange between critics of the petroleum industry and those who support the development of the nation’s oil and gas reserves.
Green energy may work someday soon
After all we put the first man on the moon
The answer is simple—we gotta get real
We got our own oil—so let’s drill baby drill
The wind is free—it might save a buck
But there’s no propellers on my pickup truck
We respect mother earth—don’t say we don’t care
‘Cause our kids and your kids—they all breathe the same air
Mack Abernathy and Tres Womack are native Texans. Abernathy, who lives in China Spring, northwest of Waco, is a former collegiate and Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association member. He spent 13 years working as an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad before getting into the music business fulltime in 1986. With two Billboard chart songs to his credit, Abernathy still tours regularly with his band, The Pocket Rocket Rangers. He and his wife, Jessie, own and operate Prizm Entertainment (www.prizmstaging.com) a multi-faceted entertainment business centered around their custom-built, mobile, semi-trailer event stage, which is leased out for festivals, concerts, and political functions.
Womack resides in Round Rock and has his own consulting firm to guide businesses through new product launch and distribution. He is a member of the alt-country band Getocowboys, as well as the eclectic all-acoustic Chubby Knuckle Choir. In 2008, Womack’s solo project, Freak Show, was nominated for “Album of the Year” by the Academy of Texas Music, and “Gather Round,” a track from the album, garnered the Academy’s “Song of the Year” award. Abernathy and Womack, along with Jessie Abernathy, who manages her husband’s music business and oversees the operations of Prizm Entertainment, have joined forces with Bekki Lammert, a 40-year Austin veteran of the Texas political scene.
Abernathy and Womack recorded “Let’s Drill Baby Drill” at Steve Palousek’s Awesome Works Recording Studio in Holland, Texas, and at Rug’s Largemouth Recording Studio in China Springs. Palousek, a Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame inductee, fiddler Al Mouledous, guitarist David Zychek, bassist Dana Spiegener, and drummer Jeremy Bryant provide the instrumental flourishes. Jessie Abernathy and Bekki Lammert join in as part of the chorus crowd. “Let’s Drill Baby Drill” is available as a CD single and as a download at iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and GooglePlay. Those who are interested could also check out www.mackabernathy.com and www.reverbnation.com/treswomack.
Abernathy and associates have a mission statement that’s direct and to the point. “Let’s Drill Baby Drill” was written to bring public awareness to America’s ability to become an energy independent nation and to celebrate and lend support to the workers of this industry. The project’s resonating message, which transcends political party lines, resolves that American energy independence will not only allow this great nation to meet its own current and future energy needs, but will also enable Americans to sever our relationships with many hostile adversaries.
“We are attempting to make this go viral with the help of a social media promoter, a full-production video, talk radio interviews, and live performances,” Abernathy explains. In addition to personal appearances at music events and talk radio gigs, he hopes to take the message—American oil from American soil—to national television news talk shows such as the Mike Huckabee show. Currently they are seeking funding for the music video to be produced and directed by award-winning videographer Jim “Taco” Genik.
The group’s website—www.letsdrillbabydrill.com, not to be confused with www.drillbabydrill.com—offers CDs, t-shirts, caps, hoodies, and koozies (all of which are exclusively American-made products) for sale, as well as an opportunity to join and donate to the grassroots effort to spread the “Let’s Drill Baby Drill” message nationwide. “The heart of the project is the song,” Abernathy emphasizes.
OPEC wants us to stoop and bow
America never has—she won’t now
America needs to buy what America makes
Joe W. Specht is the author of another feature article that appears in this issue: our latest installment of his series on “Oil Patch Music of the Permian Basin.” He can be reached at email@example.com.