Brad Paisley busted out an acoustic guitar on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night to debut a song about a timely and controversial issue — North Carolina’s HB 2, or the so-called “transgender bathroom” law.
“We were way ahead of that in our format. Country music dealt with this in the 60s,” Paisley told Kimmel of the controversial issue.
The song wasn’t exactly new — it was a re-worked version of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” — but Paisley changed the lyrics around to poke fun at the newly-enacted law.
“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman/especially when you were born a man,” Paisley sang. “North Carolina, they’re checking for vaginas/if you want to use the can.”
North Carolina’s HB 2 mandates that transgender individuals use public restrooms that correspond with their biological sex. The law also prohibits cities in the state from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances.
The law has led to considerable activism from the music industry, with artists like Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr cancelling planned concerts in the state in opposition to the law.
“Sit by your man/We’re all just human beings,” Paisley crooned. “He’s just a human peein’/in the stall right next to you.”
Of course, Paisley has had experience dealing with controversial topics in song; in 2013, the country star released a duet with rapper LL Cool J called “Accidental Racist,” about the difficulties of being white in the South and the attendant guilt that comes along with it.
On Friday, Paisley brought out surprise guest Demi Lovato at a concert in Irvine, California, where the duo performed their hit song “Without a Fight.”
Lovato was one of the artists who, along with tour-mate Nick Jonas, cancelled scheduled concerts in North Carolina to protest the law. Lovato later wore a T-shirt bearing the “gender inclusivity” symbol at Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards to make another political statement about the law.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum