Archive for March, 2017


I Might Be A Redneck

March 31, 2017

I am a Texas redneck by birth. While others may get to say they are of Italian descent or maybe from Irish immigrants, or even proudly proclaim their Jewish heritage, I’m just a simple redneck. And further inquiry into my family background led to ancestors from remote regions of Kentucky, so I guess that makes me a hillbilly Texan redneck. My given name is Bob Earl…need any other proof?

Up until age 12 I had firmly planned to be a truck driver shipping oil (“awl”) cross-country, just like my dad, my uncle, and their dad (my pappy) before them. It was in my blood. It was my destiny. I’m thankful I became a sensitive artsy dude who loves to sing and draw and write. I am also thankful I lost my full-blown Texas accent when I moved out of the state for good at age 12.

Though I lost my accent (I can bring it back out at will, however), I can still spot a Texan by their first few syllables. Celebrity actors like Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew McConahghey are spot-on with their dialects (Ahright ahright ahright!).

I can also detect a big ol’ fake when I hear it in movies and on the telly. Actors are often cast and directed to speak a general “southern” accent, which usually ends up in some sort of exaggerated drawl that has no real facsimile of any regional southern dialect, of which there are a distinct many state-specific accents including:

  • Texan
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana Cajun
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama (thanks Forrest Gump)
  • Georgia
  • Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Virginia/West Virginia

Left out is the general midwest accent which I simply label as “lazy speak”. I know this very well because after leaving Texas I ended up in Montana. Montanan’s don’t think they have an accent and they’re right. Midwesterners just kinda speak lazy, like they don’t open their mouth and don’t enunciate, much unlike a southern drawl that uses modified vowels and consonant elisions.

I have also been fortunate to have been a tour actor where I have studied and mentally catalogued regional dialects (which has come in handy for a few acting projects). I find it fun and fascinating to try and peg a dialect when I hear it to the appropriate state or nearest region.

But as for Texas, particularly west Texas, I can peg ‘em dead to rights. Here’s a short list of phrases with phonetic spelling that are a dead giveaway for a Texan:

“ahm headin’ tuh Seb’m leb’m” = I’m going to 7-Eleven

Hahbaht them Cahboehs?!” = How about America’s favorite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys?

“Ah reck’n” = I suppose so

“slicker ‘n greased owl shit” = It’s very and slippery

“awl drillin’” = drilling for oil, also known as Texas Tea

“He’s crooked as a dawg’s hind leg” = that gentleman is up to no good

 “Don’ mess with Tyexas” = please do not say anything disparaging about my beloved home state

I miss Texas, or rather, “ah miss mah ol’ stowmpin’ grounds.”. It’s nice to get back and visit once in a while and unfold the old Texas drawl. But for now, “How ‘bout them Cowboys!”