When the deep-digging podcast about the dark corners of country music Cocaine & Rhinestones debuted in 2017, lemme tell you: if heaven is soaked in whiskey, cigarettes and scandal, I thought I had surely died and gone to it. Three episodes (almost four hours total) about the three-minute and sixteen-second long song “Harper Valley P.T.A”? SIGN. ME. UP. Host Tyler Mahan Coe does not leave a rhinestone unturned.
There’s so much I want to just out-and-out spoil about Cocaine & Rhinestones (the podcast, not the drugs or jewels—hey, I don’t know your life) but to do so would really be unkind of me. But listen: no, they did not throw a baby off the Tallahatchie Bridge (you learn that in the Bobbie Gentry episode, along with literally everything there is to know about Bobbie Gentry).
A friend of mine (you know who you are) thinks the episodes are too detailed, that we don’t really need to know every single thing about birth control in the 1960s to understand Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill.” My friend is wrong.
Some people think I’m a little predisposed to hyperbole. Well, I’m not and Cocaine & Rhinestones is the Remembrance of Things Past of our time, if our time is not really very French and not at all about cookies and mostly about barroom brawls, secret murders, and whether or not a radio station wants to play a song about birth control pills. See? It’s the same.
The good news is if you’ve never listened to it before, you have that glorious handful of episodes (just 14!) to experience for the first time (hot tip: the one about The Judds is a doozy). The bad news is that there was only that one perfect season of it and then it . . . went silent. Oh no! I was devastated because it meant I was no longer going to be able to run the category during my inevitable Jeopardy! appearance when the subject was “Country Music Stars Who Vomited in Public.” Off to get a new Life Goal.
But wait! What’s this? Ohhhhhhh law, as my grandmother would say. At long last: a new season of Cocaine & Rhinestones is beginning April 20!
Coe has mentioned that the new season will all be about George Jones (in one way or another, and if past episodes are any indication, I’m going with “another”). I am about to faint with anticipation (see above blabbering about hyperbole). Go listen to a Season One episode and you’ll see why.