Credit crunch country singer Merle Hazard tackles Greece
July 22, 2010
Suzy Kenly Waite
Merle Hazard, a pen-name for Jon Shayne of Nashville investment advisor Shayne & Co., has attacked hedge funds, bailouts, and the Hamptons. His latest hit covers the Greek debt crisis. “It’s about balancing a budget,” he told AR.
Country singer Merle Hazard is back, but this time
he’s not crooning about hedge funds or the
Hamptons. His latest song is about (what else) the Greek debt
crisis. Jon Shayne—Merle Hazard is a pen name in
homage to country music legend Merle Haggard—joined
forces with PBS NewHour to create a music video about
Greek’s financial woes. The setting for his video?
A full scale replica of the Parthenon in the Centennial Park in
Nashville. (See the video here.)
|Wolf Jackson, Merle Hazard
and Frances Cunningham.
(Courtesy of John Shayne.
Photographer: Ann Shayne.)
Like Hazard’s other songs, the lyrics in "Greek
Debt Crisis" are simple but true. "The budget problems of the
Greeks are a European pain," he sings. "I hope it
doesn’t spread to Portugal, Italy or Spain." And
later in the song: "The IMF have applied their expertise to
keep the European Union from crumbling just like feta cheese."
"It’s the first country song to have a Greek
bouzouki in it," he joked, referring to mandolin-shaped
instrument with a longer neck. "We’re just
following the news." Shayne added that while the reaction has
been mostly positive, not everyone sees the humor. "A few
people thought that it had an anti-Greek bias," he said. "They
didn’t realize that we had already raked Wall
Street, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve over the
"It has nothing to do with Greek culture," Shayne said on his
song. "It’s about balancing a budget." A
philosophy major at Harvard, he has a great deal of respect for
the Greek philosophers. The opening of his song: "Oh yes, the
Greeks gave us Pythagoras, and Euclid and Plato, and other
He began writing "Greek Debt Crisis" in late April and finished
filming the video on May 20. The video was initially posted on
Youtube.com on July 19. By July 22, it had been viewed 7,675
times. It is Shayne’s eighth song. Others include
"In the Hamptons," "Old Time Recession," "Legal Tender," "Mark to Market," "Bailout," "Green with Envy," "H-E-D-G-E" and "Inflation or Deflation."
When he’s not singing about economic woes, Shayne
is managing $130 million in Shayne & Co., an investment
advisor in Nashville, running long-only separate accounts for
wealthy individuals, foundations and endowments. From the
firm’s founding in 1995 through 2009, Shayne has
produced an annualized return of 10.2% using a mix of stocks,
Treasuries and cash. Previously he worked at PaineWebber in New
York as an analyst in the mergers and acquisitions department.
Like many of his songs, Shayne ends "Greek Debt Crisis" with a
suggestion: "Some say Greece may drop the euro so their
products can compete. And if that’s not enough
maybe they can sell off Crete!"