Serve somebody: Appreciation for hospitality workers

We love (and need, obviously) the people that power our bars, restaurants, music venues, hotels, catered gigs, etc. For a recent #ThematicStatic, we celebrated National Hospitality Workers Appreciation Day with songs for and about these frontline folks that keep us full and happy, literally.

Enjoy streaming (👇🏼) the February 23 #ThematicStatic show and get your requests in this week on Twitter or Instagram @WNXPNashville.

#ThematicStatic Playlist – 2/23/23

Jerry Jeff Walker – “Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother” – One Twitter user LittleC — who saved this BigC big-time recently at the Ryman when I was fumbling around on the Axios app, mind you — said that “every great bartender has had an epic bar brawl!” and called up this Ray Wylie Hubbard cover about the calamity that can ensue when redneck meets hippie.

Suzanne Vega “Tom’s Diner” – Is this the most addictively hummable song about a diner waitress ever? Great request, Sally.

The Who – “Bell Boy” – Caleb remembers this one from The Who’s concept record, Quadrophenia, when the protagonist of the double-album, Jimmy, sees his former rock star idol years later working as a bell hop in a hotel. Fun fact: The Who’s drummer Keith Moon was the voice of the bell boy.

Pearl Jam – “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town” – Zach requested this acoustic PJ heartbreaker and I gladly played it slash cried to it. THEN hometown boy Billy Strings covered it on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena, almost like we manifested it during Thematic Static. Here’s a key pre-chorus stanza that shivs you right in the side:

I changed by not changing at all
Small town predicts my fate
Perhaps that’s what no one wants to see

“Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town”

The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me Baby” – Jude introduced this one as not only the first record she ever bought but also how she first met yours truly, “working at a…breakfast bar.” 🙂

Montell Fish – “Hotel” – Like the track “Pretend Lovers” we’ve been jammin’ on WNXP, this song appears on Fish’s 2022 EP Her Love Still Haunts Me Like a Ghost. Judging by the lyrics of this song, I guess a hotel room somewhere is also haunted, hm?

Regina Spektor – “Bartender” – A plea to be fed the poison that will make you forget, this one of Spektor’s piano ballads goes:

Ooh, you have got to kick me back out
Into the cold and nasty weather
And maybe if I sober up
I will stop pretending that love is forever, love is forever


Pavement – “Shady Lane / J v. S” – Grant caught the lyrics in this one about fighting in front of the “over-friendly concierge.” Also, earlier in the song, the protagonist couple asked their server to split the bill (“they went Dutch, Dutch, Dutch”).

The Lemonheads – “Paid To Smile” – Rex recalled yet another 1990s classic, and this one could be interpreted to mean any frontline service industry or hospitality worker who often has to “grin and bear it” because “the customer is always right.”

Tori Amos – “The Waitress” – Tori Amos took a different tack on the service industry and professed ill will toward her waitress in this fairly intense 3-minute piano song.

Cory Branan – “The Prettiest Waitress in Memphis” – Zachary and Rachel both separately chose this West Tennessee ode to the server who catches your eye.

Material Issue – “Kim the Waitress” – On Instagram, Joshua requested this and Chris seconded the recommendation. Funny enough, this band also fits the following week’s #ThematicStatic, because they hail from Chicago.

Courtney Barnett – “Elevator Operator” – Darci requested this one from up at school in Purdue!

Bob Dylan – “Gotta Serve Somebody” – Gospel-era Dylan is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this song is fantastic and closed the show fittingly.