August 13

The Inspiration Behind Vern Gosdin’s “This Ain’t My First Rodeo”

The Inspiration Behind Vern Gosdin's "This Ain't My First Rodeo" 1
Vern Gosdin |Photo Credits:

A three-minute long country song, “This Ain’t My First Rodeo” was recorded by American country music artist Vern Gosdin and released on July 23, 1990. It is the lead single and the A-side of another Gosdin’s hit, “If You’re Gonna Do Me Wrong (Do It Right),” on his album 10 Years of Greatest Hits. In addition, Gosdin co-penned the song with fellow country music songwriters namely, Hank Cochran and Max D. Barnes. Meanwhile, record producer Bob Montgomery produced the hit for Columbia Records.

Moreover, “This Ain’t My First Rodeo” entered the country music charts in 1990. However, it did not reach the top 10 charting only at n0. 14 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. On the other hand, it peaked at no. 19 on the RPM Country Tracks in Canada. Nonetheless, the song placed no. 10 in Radio and Records, a trade publication providing news and airplay information.

The Song: Inspired by a Carpenter’s Statement

In an account, as recalled by Vern Gosdin himself, he shared that he had wanted an addition put on his house, i.e. an extra room over his garage. One morning, before driving to Nashville for an errand, he first met with the carpenters. When he arrived back home, he was surprised because the workmen had almost completed the addition. He then praised them for their quick work, which one of the men replied,

“This ain’t our first rodeo.”

With these words, Gosdin went inside the house and immediately wrote the words down. Eventually, he also used the statement as the title for the song. Later, he finished the song with the help of his friends, Hank Cochran and Max Barnes. Gosdin credited the carpenter for using the idiomatic expression inspiring him to write such a song.

This Ain’t My First Rodeo is actually an idiomatic expression that gained wider usage in the early 1980s. As defined and elaborated by the website Grammarist, “this ain’t my first rodeo” means I am not a novice to this situation, I have experience in this area and I am competent. It is mostly used in instances where a less experienced person is trying to give advice to a more experienced person and is meant to establish superiority.

Hence, in the song, the words present a tale of experience. This is evident in the following lines:

This ain’t the first time this old cowboy’s been throwed

This ain’t the first I’ve seen this dog and pony show

Honey, This ain’t my first rodeo

LISTEN to Vern Gosdin’s 1990 hit, “This Ain’t My First Rodeo:”

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Hank Cochran, Max D. Barnes, this ain't my first rodeo, vern gosdin

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