Brad Paisley’s Anthem for Outdoor Families – II

We began our study of Brad Paisley’s hit song “Ticks” last week. Today, I continue my efforts to help you see that “Ticks” (written by Brad, Tim Owens and Kelley Lovelace, and released on the Arista Nashville/Sony BMG label) is not just about a guy trying to pick up a girl in a bar. This song is a primer for young adults determined to choose the right mate to bear the children who will keep our outdoors wild and free. This song is a battle hymn – an anthem – in the struggle to secure our outdoor future. (Hear it at

Let us continue our line by line analysis.

Last week, we left off at, “In the small there of your back,” which brings our singer to “Your jeans are playing peekaboo…” At first, this seems simply playful and fun. Read it again, however, and you see that he is testing her mothering instincts. (Does she recognize this happy little game we play with our babies, and is it a game she will enjoy?) He is also setting the stage for a test of her ability to properly guide children in their growing appreciation of Mother Nature and her creatures. He now boldly poses a critical challenge.

“I’d like to see the other half of your butterfly tattoo.” What kind of butterfly is it? Is this a woman – as she must be to help rear outdoor-connected kids – who ensures that the wildlife art with which she adorns herself is anatomically correct? This could be a deal maker or breaker for our singing mate-seeker.

“Hey that gives me an idea…” Here is a smooth and clever golden bridge. He shows his willingness to consider thoughts beyond those one normally finds in a bar, and easily lightens the tension over the butterfly test.

“Let’s get out of this bar…” Recall his concern over the smoky atmosphere; now we see that he is a thoughtful man of action. Getting out of the bar implies fresh air and a genuine concern for her health and well-being – characteristics important for her to consider in selecting a proper mate with whom to make outdoor-connected kids.

“Drive out into the country…” We know they are in an urban area. This is a clear demonstration of his willingness to do whatever it takes to find a country setting where proper evaluation of their outdoor-kid-rearing potential might take place.

“And find a place to park…” Here, he shows a desire for an undistracted talk while also saving fuel. In one fell swoop, he opens his soul and demonstrates the environmental and fiscal responsibility of a good husband.

And now we come to the refrain; words and lessons so important that they must be repeated three times before the end of the anthem.

“’Cause I’d like to see you out in the moonlight…” Only in the moonlight will her inner truth and beauty be fully illuminated, while they carry on this initial, but critical, face to face talk.

“I’d like to kiss you way back in the sticks…” Brilliant, really; another test of her playfulness, while also finding her comfort level in wild places – both must score high if she is to help raise the outdoor-connected kids of tomorrow (the whole point of the song, really).

“I’d like to walk you through a field of wildflowers…” Smoothly, our singing mate-seeker offers the candidate a rich vision of his romantic nature. Immediately, he follows up with a show of courage likely beyond that of any man she has ever known.

“And I’d like to check you for ticks.” What can I say? To very loosely paraphrase John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man that he would go where none would dare to protect another from bites and tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.” Thus, our hero shows his courage and a willingness to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. By extension, this would hold for their children, too.

“I know the perfect little path…” Here, now, is the next test. While inviting her to walk through those wildflowers, he offers her the comfort of a path (since she is not wearing hiking shoes).

“Out in these woods I used to hunt…” Ahh, here now is the assurance that he is not only comfortable in wild places, but can provide the kind of protein she and their children will need.

“Don’t worry babe I’ve got your back…” I love this part; a subtle test of her moxie (Will she put up with “Babe?”) coupled with an assurance that nothing will sneak up on them in their moonlight walk – all the while testing her comfort level with wild places.

“I’ve also got your front…” Nothing will attack from before them, either. Wow. This guy is serious.

“Now, I’d hate to waste a night like this…” Beautiful; a plea to continue this exploration of possible partnership, while also acknowledging the high value she places on her time.

“I’ll keep you safe you wait and see…” Clear and subtle, here is a strong commitment to her well-being, while quietly challenging her to test his honor.

Next week, I will conclude my analysis of Brad Paisley’s training song for creating outdoor families.

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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