Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Kinky Friedman

Ep. 101 - Kinky Friedman
"Sold American" - The Controversial "Jewish Cowboy" Provocateur


Scott and Paul reveal their pick for the "other" greatest songwriter of all time to complete the list of 100 they introduced on the last episode. And they remind listeners how to enter the contest to win an autographed Lamont Dozier CD. 

PART TWO - 5:14 mark
The guys reveal their new favorite game of combining two artist names to create music you wouldn't want to hear. R. Kelly Clarkson? Jars of Clay Aiken? Days of the New Kids on the Block? Come on, you know you want to go down this rabbit hole with us...

PART THREE - 13:45
Want to create professional demos of your original songs? We can help!

PART FOUR - 15:23
Our in-depth conversation with Kinky Friedman


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Scott and Paul call up the always-interesting Kinky Friedman, who reveals the identity of the person he believes deserves credit for starting country music's outlaw movement; what Waylon Jennings said when he saw Kinky walking down the street with his laundry; how he ended up receiving the Male Chauvinist Pig of the Year Award from the National Organization for Women; the way Nelson Mandela embraced one of his songs; the advice Willie Nelson gave him that changed his life; the reason he writes about Jesus so much; and why he says you've got to be miserable to write great songs.

Always provocative and often insightful, singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, and politician Kinky Friedman, along with his band the Texas Jewboys, brought the spirit of Lenny Bruce to country music. Called the Frank Zappa of country, Friedman raised eyebrows with politically incorrect fare such as “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed,” “Homo Erectus,” “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” and “Asshole From El Paso.”

Self-stylized as a profane Will Rogers, Kinky’s persona as a cigar-chomping raconteur often overshadowed his considerable skills as a songwriting craftsman. From the sharp social commentary of “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You” to strictly serious fare such as “Rapid City, South Dakota,” “Dear Abbie,” and “Lady Yesterday,” his knack for keen observation and tightly constructed songs attracted the attention of admirers such as Billy Joe Shaver, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan, who invited Kinky and the Texas Jewboys to join his legendary Rolling Thunder Review tour. Dylan once said, “I don’t understand music. I understand Lightnin’ Hopkins. I understand Lead Belly, John Lee Hooker, Woody Guthrie and Kinky Friedman.”

Friedman eventually set songwriting aside and built a reputation as a celebrated mystery novelist. He went on to become a columnist for publications such as Rolling Stone and Texas Monthly and has published a long list of fiction and non-fiction books. He even ran for Governor of Texas in 2006 under the campaign slogan “Why the hell not,” eventually coming in fourth with nearly a half million votes. 

In 2018, Kinky the songwriter returned with his first album of new original material in nearly four decades. Circus of Life spotlights the chops of a master songwriter who never lost his touch.


Songcraft's Kinky Friedman Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy 25 songs from Kinky's catalog. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.