Country, rap and funny

Cledus T. Judd mixes parody with seriousness

Cledus T. Judd mixes parody with seriousness

May 17, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

You have to walk a fine line when you're working "with" the president. Just ask the Dixie Chicks, said Cledus T. Judd.

Judd is known as the "Weird Al" Yankovic of country music. He has parodied the music of country acts such as Toby Keith, Shania Twain and Alan Jackson.

He will perform at Hager Hall in Hagerstown on Saturday as part of the 2009 Bailout Tour.

One of his latest efforts is "Waitin' on Obama," a take-off of Brad Paisley's "Waiting on a Woman." "Waitin'" has some laughs, but also a serious tone.

In the video, Judd gets a call from a creditor about some overdue bills. The song touches on the McCain-Palin ticket and the wait to see if President Obama will resolve the country's ails, including the economic crunch.


"Billions spent on bailout plans,

While they stick it to the working man.

I guess by now they think, we're used to it.

Now I'm killing time in the welfare line,

Waitin' on Obama."

"You have to walk such a fine line when you're dealing ... with the president," Judd said during a recent phone interview from Georgia. "You have to be careful. And I didn't want to do anything drop-dead funny, because I don't know that we were in a funny situation at (this) time.

"I just tried to ... walk softly down the middle of the road on that one. You can't be making fun of the man that's running our country. But you know, he did make a bunch of promises. So bring it on, let's see whatcha got."

"Waitin' on Obama" is featured on Judd's 12th album, "Polyrically Uncorrect," which is scheduled to be released on June 30. That allows time to finish and promote the newly shot video for another track on the album, "Garth Must Be Busy." To hear "Garth Must Be Busy," a duet with Brooks & Dunn, go to

Rap? Really?

Judd, 44, whose real name is Barry Poole, got his start when he won an amateur night contest in 1992 at the Buckboard, a Georgia club.

He performed a couple of humorous rap songs he'd written.

He wasn't really that interested in rap, but without a classically trained voice, Judd said he "didn't have any other way to do the music."

Six months after winning the amateur night, he moved to Nashville and his persistence and hard work resulted in a record deal in the mid 1990s. From the beginning, his albums were a mix of parodies and original music.

"You'll never hear me do anything, trying to compete with Vince Gill," Judd said.

Judd said he's not sure where the humor came from, but he was an only child who had to entertain himself.

"My mom's got a really good sense of humor, and my uncle, I think I got some from him." he said.

After his parents divorced, Judd and his mom moved around a lot while she worked different jobs to support them.

Successes and failures

His first parody, "Indian In-laws," was based on the music from Tim McGraw's "Indian Outlaw." Out of 200 radio stations sent cassettes of the tune, 198 played it.

"That just kind of showed me that that's probably what my niche should be. I never set out to do that. It just kind of parlayed into that. Now a couple of million records later and a bunch of videos later, we're still at it," Judd said.

One of his more popular tunes is "My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy," a parody of Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy."

Judd has had the opportunity to sing or be in videos with such stars as Vince Gill, Trace Adkins, and Charlie Daniels.

He's been star-struck on many occasions, especially with Gill.

"That was pretty stout to have Vince come in, think enough of me to trust his career enough to sing on one of my records. So I was really appreciative of that," Judd said.

For TV watchers, Judd might be a recognizable face from season five of VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club."

He lost 41 pounds that season. He's gained some weight since then, some on his doctor's advice, but he's in better shape than when he started the show, Judd said.

Judd's rsum also includes his own radio shows. But life is not all a bowl of cherries for Judd. He was fired last fall from radio station. WUBL, aka The Bull, in Atlanta. He said it probably had to do with the ratings, though Judd said he wasn't given much time to build an audience in a tough market.

"No harm, no foul," Judd said. Losing his job, and the severance package he received, fed his creative energy and gave him the freedom to develop "Polyrically Uncorrect," he said.

"I hated that I got fired, but I'm glad I had a good attorney," Judd said.

If you go ...

WHAT: The 2009 Bailout Tour with Cledus T. Judd, Flynnville Train, Cody McCarver and Amanda Henkel

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23. Doors open at 5 p.m.

WHERE: Hager Hall Conference and Event Center, 901 Dual Highway, Hagerstown

COST: Tickets cost $15.

MORE: For tickets, go to

or stop by Cancun Cantina West or Barefoot Bernie's on Dual Highway. The artists will sign autographs after the show.

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