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 wondrous stuff."
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!"