who are upset about the rising price of gasoline are expressing their
frustration in a number of ways. A lot of them are driving less, some are
selling their cars and others are calling for a political solution. Brent Burns
wrote a song. "Pain at the Pump" is typical of the country music
artist's creative approach of looking at serious issues from a humorous
perspective. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
a songwriter and usually do funny songs," says Brent Burns who, for more
than 30 years has found his inspiration in the nation's serious issues.
know, if we had no humor in our lives, it would be a pretty boring life,"
he says. "Even in times of great turmoil, it's good to have some comedic
relief. That's what I try to do when I write songs. I picked on the French
people one time with a song called 'FTF – Forget the French.' I pick on rich,
white people, people who have too much money."
at the Pump" grew out of America's anger at the rising price of gas.
kind of tongue in cheek, as we say in America," he says."It's
serious, the prices of gasoline to the entire world, but sometimes it's better
to laugh than cry."
at the Pump" – one of the cuts on Burn's latest CD, Ragtops and Flip
Flops – is his second song about high gas prices. He wrote "Cheaper
Crude or No More Food" in 1979.
got on the top 40 in America," he says."Last time when that song was
out, I was interviewed by the Voice of America, also. So, it did really well.
It was quite an international stir."
gas crisis, he says, is different from the one three decades ago.
was a different time during the first song," he says."People kind of
blamed OPEC nations for the high prices of gasoline because they were the major
producers. We had an embargo in 1973, then a shortage in 1979 and 1980. More
recently, really I don't think anybody knows if there is only someone to point
at and blame completely for the problem. Is it OPEC? Is it our politicians not
taking care of us, looking for our best interests?"
American people, Burns says, should also take some blame for the current
kind of wakes us up to the fact that we need to use less energy," he
says."We need to use more natural resources of our own, to be less
dependent on international oil, explore technologically other ways of producing
energy – nuclear or biofuel or hybrid engines. So, I think this crisis may
have a good ending."
days, Burns is busy promoting his new album and working on a new collection of
humorous country music. He says that doesn't give him a chance to do what he
likes most, international travel.
so busy playing in the States that I haven't found as much time to go traveling
overseas," he says."But, I love to travel overseas because if you
haven't ever been out of the United States, you don't understand that there is
another world over there, other beliefs, other thoughts and other ways to look
says the feedback he has received on "Pain at the Pump" so far is
exceeding his expectations. He says it reaffirms what he has long believed –
that people need a humorous perspective on the most serious problems in life.