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Is Country Music Right-Wing?

Well, if patriotism is considered "right-wing" then the answer would be yes. As Victoria Spurs Barrett observes, conventional pop music is not particularly patriotic anymore, but country music still embraces love of country.

Country Music is the soul of America. It doesn't judge her. It doesn't condemn her. Nor does it feel the need to.

I've never been much of a country music fan myself - other than Hank Williams (the original, not the MNF guy) - but I think Ms. Spurs Miss Barrett is making an interesting observation about politics and music.

UPDATE: I have edited the post at Miss Barrett's request. I would also add that I agree with her point that being patriotic should not be considered inherently "right wing" -- but it is nonetheless understandable that public expressions of patriotism are typucally viewed as such today.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Is Country Music Right-Wing?
  2. Are Great Artists Right-Wing?
Phil (mail):
I think that it tracks geography. People in the military tend to come disproportionately from rural areas in the South and West, where such music tends to be more popular. Moreover, many country stars come from similar backgrounds. Finally, even those who do not match the geographical profile may match the "cultural" profile, i.e., beign from white trash like myself. (I assume as a matter of political correctness we now call ourselves working class white.) Of course, I assume that like most things there is more going on.
9.29.2005 9:17am
Cecilius:
Country music isn't very good, but it certainly is unusual when compared to American pop culture. There's the occassional songs about drinking and fighting, but most are about how much they love their wives and kids and God and country and all that. It's quintessential Red State music in that the personas in the song would rather go fishing with their Dads and then go home to their families then lead the more glamorous life of heavy drug use, drive-by shootings, and trophy sex with as many women as possible. Not that the latter lifestyle is necessarily embraced by the Left, but the modern Left is derived from the Timothy Leary tune in, turn on, drop out mentality. Most importantly, and this relates to how they view their country, the personas of country music are happier people. There's no anger or outrage or need to crusade against powerful forces. The guy in the country music song usually didn't ask much from life (decent house, pickup, wife and kids) and got all they asked for.
9.29.2005 9:30am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
"She thinks my tractor's sexy" by Kenny Chesney as a political statement. Discuss!
9.29.2005 9:51am
Sasha Slutsker (www):
As a fan of country music myself, I will point out that drinking is probably a focus of a good number of songs, certainly more than are focused on love for the country. (But it's certainly much more mild than certain other genres.)
9.29.2005 9:51am
Dudley Crawford (mail):
It's good you don't like Bocephus (Hank II). If you want the real country, check out Hank III. He tours constantly in the small club circuit.
9.29.2005 9:55am
alkali (mail) (www):
As in all other musical genres, Sturgeon's Law applies.
9.29.2005 10:29am
Justin (mail):
Willie and Johnny were hardly right wing. Like anything else, Country music is a medium. Happenstance makes it popular amongst a geographic cross-section that is more conventionally considered right wing, and such a majority of "pop country" written to appeal to the audience is also right wing.

On the other hand, alot of the more alternative country has a very strong left wing feel to it, which anyone whose spent the right weekend in Telluride knows :).
9.29.2005 10:46am
AnonymousGuest:
Part of the problem with this discussion (other than the obvious one -- that most of these commentators have never listened to country mustic) is that defining "country" music as a genre isn't so cut and dry. Most of the "patriotic" country music would be more accurately called "country pop". Just like rock and roll has mainstram, pop, and alternative subdivisions, so does country. Some bands you think of as "rock" -- like REM and the Eagles -- were, in their early days, more like electrified punk country than they were rock and roll.

Country godfather Willie Nelson -- whom others have noted -- is the only man I'm aware of to smoke pot in the white house, hardly something right wing. He -- as a person -- and his music have far less in common with Garth-Brooks type country than with Dylan or other greats of the 60s. I also would put in a plug for the Old '97s, an "alt-country" band popular with a lot of rock fans, for those of you who can't imagine enjoying country music.
9.29.2005 11:02am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
"She thinks my tractor's sexy" by Kenny Chesney as a political statement. Discuss!


It was my candidate's de facto campaign song when he ran for reelection in 2000 and drove one of his tractors in every parade he attended.

He lost.
9.29.2005 11:16am
Richard Bellamy (mail):
I am an East Coast liberal Democrat and a country music fan.

"Country music" itself is neither leftwing or rightwing, although many individual songs are. As a Democrat, I tend to enjoy the songs with that fit more with my worldview ("What is Truth" by Jonny Cash is anti-war, "Lord Mr. Ford" by Jerry Reed is anti-car, right up to "Me and Emily" by Rachel Proctor, about domestic violence). I can also appreciate the more rightwing songs, and only change the channel at the ones I find most offense (like "If the South Had Won").

What are clearly far-right, however, are the country music DJs. The morning guy on XM13 ("Hank's Place"), for example, whose shtick is that he's your own "bartender", passing alone news and good wishes and stuff, and giving you updates of NASCAR action (I have no interest in car racing) while serving up your morning coffee, also will frequently say something like "Here's your coffee, and I'll be shooting Barbra Streisand for you", followed by a gunshot sound effect.

So, while the music isn't inherently rightwing, the DJs try to make it appear that it is, both through their music selection, and in the process scare off some of the potential leftwing listeners who enjoy the music, but not so much the summary executions of Jane Fonda. (I prefer XM10 "America", which claims to play "everything", so has less of a political bias in its country song selection, and fewer DJ interruptions.)
9.29.2005 11:21am
Doc (mail):
If by "country music" we mean generic (as in, "of a genre") country music -- that music, broadly speaking, which most people think of when someone says "country music" -- and we maintain this generic category, rather than bifurcating it into a dozen subcategories;
and if by "right-wing" we mean to the right of center in political philosophy, or, in other words, significantly conservative in its bent;
and if by "conservative" we intend to denote, connote or imply traits or ideals such as (a) favoring the status quo over change, (b) favoring the conventional or the traditional over the experimental or the new, and (c) embracing or at least accepting or taking as given traditional hierarchies and/or authorities and/or values;
then it seems a very, very strong case can be made for the claim "country music is right-wing."

Doesn't it?
9.29.2005 11:21am
rico:
"She said she's got a dream and I asked what it is
She wants a little farm and a yard full of kids"

Doesn't sound much like a Hillary '08 supporter . . .

In fact, it's the perfect picture of someone who would have voted Democrat in the '70s for the ariculture subsidies, but now votes Republican for the social issues.

Listen to Kenny Chesney and find out why women vote Republican!
9.29.2005 11:29am
Columbienne:
Listen to Merle Haggard singing "The Way I Am," and I think you'll find enough there to register with deeply held beliefs on the right AND the left. That's what makes country music great!
9.29.2005 11:33am
Goober (mail):
Blasphemy. Baseball and jazz are the soul of America.
9.29.2005 11:33am
Columbienne:
And Doc, the problem with your formulation of "what most people think of when someone says 'country music'" is that most people don't know much about country music.
9.29.2005 11:37am
s.m. koppelman (www):
Maybe country music is right-wing because when something isn't right-wing it gets hyphenated or recategorized out of country. Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson? "Classic country". Everyone from Hank III and Gillian Welch to Steve Earle or the entire Bloodshot roster is "alt-country". Left-oriented folkies can use all the fiddles, mandolins, drummers and anecdotes about their West Virginia upbringings they want, but gosh darn it, they'll still be folkies.
9.29.2005 11:38am
Dave B:
Country is not what it used to be.

"But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
They're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reasons for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more. "

John Prine
9.29.2005 11:48am
flaime:
The overtly shrill assertions of love of country often found in the music of the likes of Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood is simply a case of "the lady doth protest too much." They aren't patriots, because they don't accept the US as a country of freedom for all, but only of freedom for themselves and those who agree with them. That's how their lyrics parse, anyway.
9.29.2005 12:03pm
Richard Bellamy (mail):
Doc makes a good point, too. The more leftwing country music becomes, the more likely it is to be classified as folk music, even when there is no other difference.
9.29.2005 12:11pm
Chukuang:
What's all this about country music being happy and satisfied? Back in the day the joke was that if you played a country album backwards, your woman came back, your truck started running again, and your dog came back to life.
9.29.2005 12:50pm
Alex Coolman (mail):
All I've got to say is:

Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Jeff Tweedy.

The genre does have plenty of people who will salute whatever gets run up the flagpole, but it's fortunately also home to some very idiosyncratic artists with critical sensibilities.

And fortunately the beauty of the steel guitar, in itself, is not a partisan issue. On that we can probably agree.
9.29.2005 1:31pm
Syd (mail):
K. D. Lang came out of country music, too.
9.29.2005 1:40pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Country music has changed... a LOT. I also wonder how many people here listen to it. I'll be a Garth Brooks fan till the day I die!
9.29.2005 1:44pm
Aultimer:
Clearly Willie, Johnny Cash and Steve Earle are counterpoints. The abuse heaped on the Dixie Chicks for their political opinions may suggest that the fans are far less free-thinking than the artists, or that the fans are only willing to accept such misbehavior from male artists (note that I didn't say country fans are misogynist).

FWIW, Garth, Chesney and their mulleted-clones aren't really C&W, it's pop with cowboy hats.
9.29.2005 2:15pm
Jeff Boulier (mail) (www):
Not entirely apropos, but since it's come up on the Consiparacy, I get to ask my question:

What country songs deal with economic principles?

The two I've got right now are Brad Paisley's "The Cigar Song", which is about moral hazard, and Gillian Welch's "Everything is Free Now", her paean to intellectual property rights. Anyone else have suggestions?
9.29.2005 2:23pm
Victoria (mail) (www):
Gratified, and indeed, grateful though I am for my Country Music Saves America blogpost having been linked on Volokh, I have a few comments, as of course, I would, as authoress:

Juan Non-Volokh writes:

Is Country Music Right-Wing?
Well, if patriotism is considered "right-wing" then the answer would be yes.


This is a pre-loaded question, and one, it may be reminded everyone here, I NEVER posed or cared enough to ask.

But it makes a kind of response to what I said, which Juan N-V did mention, that pop music, which in the past gave such an iconically patriotic artist as Kate Smith singing God Bless America (whom Philadelphia Flyers fans may remember with special fondness), in a composition written by Irving Berlin.

A Jewish composer and a WASPy singer joined together at the hip for all time -- without political cares, being proud of their country, in good or bad times.

Both, by the way, registered Democrats.

AND THAT IS MY ONLY POINT IN THAT BLOGPIECE.

Not whether Country Music is right-wing, but that it is patriotic, and why Pop Music no longer deems itself to be.

The inference made by the commenters on this thread, led by the introductory question, is however revealing.

No one here challenges the opening salvo that to be right-wing is to be patriotic, and vice-versa.

Why is that?

That is what I want you to think about, because as I say in my blogpiece, the Vietnam War changed that.

That is when popular music became inextricably tied to the Anti-War Protest Movement, and Country Music, hardly the bastion of Republicans until that time, didn't follow as easily or as well that self-same path.

I cannot believe some of the arguments mentioned, that this or that country singer is a Democrat, or that he smoked marijuana in the White House, etc., all pointing to a political gauchisme of some kind.

Surely people cannot be this reductionist?

The argument thread then becomes Country Music = Right-Wing = Morality = Personal Politics, sinking ever more into points I never made, nor did I want people to associate in their minds with.

Again, let me restate:

Somewhere along the line, the music of country people -- people, it must be reminded everyone, who don't wear Brooks Brothers suits, who don't hang around gentlemens' clubs or country clubs, people who do not particularly have a degree on their walls from upper-level educational facilities, people who don't earn corporate-level salaries...you know, just folks...have assigned to them RIGHT-WING status simply because they are PATRIOTIC.

This is nonsense.

But you can well ask why is that, that in modern-day society, being patriotic is ONLY considered RIGHT-WING?

Because my point is that it shouldn't be.

Not even a little bit.

Country Music does not EXCLUDE the traditional value of simple love of country.

On the contrary, many of their songs tout that value.

And because of that, they are considered Conservative in modern-day political parlance.

There is something very wrong with people's personal ideologies, when they think that logic should stand.

Patriotism is not the preserve of Republicans.

Country Music understands that being patriotic is American, red-white-and-blue, without the red-and-blue state dynamic needed or desired.

In closing, two points.

I understand there was no way of knowing this, but I would appreciate changing Victoria Spurs to Victoria Barrett, which is my name.

And also, I am a Miss, not a Ms.

I'm...traditional that way.

Thanks for linking to my post again, and despite my oft-exasperated tones, I'm happy that it launched spirited debate on this blog.

Cheers,
Victoria
9.29.2005 2:42pm
JoeSlater (mail):
Re economics, "You load 16 tons and whaddaya get? Another day older and deeper in debt ..." Hey, it's a Marxist critique of expropriated surplus labor value!

More seriously, I'm with the folks that say (i) country music per se isn't right wing but (ii) it is, at least in some niches/radio stations, marketed as such.
9.29.2005 2:46pm
Kevin Fowler (mail):

It don't matter who's in Austin, Bob Wills is still the king
—Waylon
9.29.2005 2:47pm
Justin (mail):
Victoria, the righties on the blog take that liberals are unpatriotic as a grain of salt. The liberals on this blog are tired of raising the complaint to end up in a loaded, unfair debate asking "Do liberals hate America?", like Eugene Volokh forced us to go through months ago. Better just to rephrase the questions in our head and get on with it.
9.29.2005 3:03pm
SamChevre:
I'm not sure that country is right-wing, but it and its roots do tend to be individualistic, anti-government and pro-violence (including pro-military); that goes back to the Celtic traditions it's rooted in. It also tends to be family-based and religious.

Country songs with an economic principle/economic history component:
Bob Wills, Take Me Back to Tulsa ("The poor man picks the cotton, the rich man gets the money")
Sixteen Tons ("You load sixteen tons, and whada ya get, Another day older and deeper in debt.)
Roger Miller, King of the Road
George Strait, If You Ain't Loving ("You can have a Cadillac, boy...")
The Tractors, especially Blue Collar Rock and Badly Bent
Alan Jackson, The Little Man ("the little man that built this town, Before the big money shut em down")
Alabama, Song of the South (the best short economic history of the South that I know of)
9.29.2005 3:07pm
Lab:
Didn't Bush the Elder claim to be a big coutnry fan ?

I found that amusing.
9.29.2005 3:29pm
Doc (mail):
Two points:
1. Pointing out individual artists or individual songs that might be exceptions to the blanket claim that country music is right-wing does not a counterargument make. After all, I can point out that the contemporary Republican party contains individuals who are exceptions to the blanket claim that the contemporary Republican party is right-wing, but consensus will remain that the claim is true in the generic sense (the only sense in which such claims can be made).

2. Regarding the notion that patriotism is itself right-wing, I would say this is (generically) nonsense. But I would elaborate: certain kinds of patriotism are right-wing, while certain kinds of patriotism are left-wing. The kind of patriotism that passes as generic patriotism (i.e., represented by love of country, no questions asked; blind loyalty; "we're #1"; "love it or leave it"; staunch nationalism; etc.) certainly does have a conservative ring to it, which is why patriotism (generically speaking) is often associated with the right wing. But other kinds of patriotism (i.e., desire for reform and change; open criticism with the hope of improvement; an emphasis on our place in an international community; etc.) is nonetheless patriotic. If the left's brand of patriotism is NOT seen as patriotic, though, this is largely the PR work of the right, which has sought to cast the left's agenda outside the pale of patriotism.
9.29.2005 4:07pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Aultimer: Then we're talking about different kinds of music. If you turn on a "country" music station anywhere in the country, you will hear 50 Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith songs before you hear a single one by Johnny Cash.

BTW: After all this talk of Willy Nelson v. Toby Keith, how does everyone classify the terrific duet by the two? "Beer for my Horses" is one of my favorite songs.

"Grandpappy told my Pappy back in my day son
A man had to answer for all the wicked that he done.
Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree
Round up all of them bad boys hang 'em high in the street."

"We got too many gangsters doin' dirty deeds
too much corruption and crime in the streets.
It's time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground
Send 'em all to their Maker, let Him settle 'em down."
9.29.2005 4:43pm
Justin (mail):
Daniel,

In a word?

Racist.
9.29.2005 4:55pm
SamChevre:
Justin,

You're wrong, unfortunately. If it was talking about Alabama, maybe, rather than Texas--but frontier justice as generally portrayed has both heroes and villains of the same race.

Another song about community justice is "Tom Dooley"
9.29.2005 5:01pm
Justin (mail):
I understand that Toby Keith and Willie Nelson are from Texas. I will not grant Toby Keith the assumption that he thinks of everything from a Texan point of view. I will not grant either Keith or Nelson the assumption that they think of their audience as Texan. I furthermore do not grant Keith or Nelson the assumption that when they say " gangsters doin' dirty deeds, too much corruption and crime in the streets," that the gangsters they were talking about were mafia rather than "street gangs" which do have a historical connection in the minds of Southerners as black.

Also, while Texas doesn't have the racial history of Alabama, even New York can appreciate what it means today to form a lynch mob and tie people's necks to trees. Though maybe Billie Holliday was singing about Pears, who knows?


Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter cry.
9.29.2005 5:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Justin.

You can think what you want--it's a free country--but the Keith/Nelson song has nothing to do with the lynching of blacks. In the video, the perp is white.
The video also shows references to the West, rather than to the South.

However, claiming to see racism in somebody else's thinking is a cheap--and obvious--way to claim moral superiority. But it doesn't work. Being obvious and all.
9.29.2005 5:15pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Justin,

In a word?

wow...
9.29.2005 5:16pm
Justin (mail):
OF COURSE in the VIDEO he's White, and OF COURSE in the VIDEO its the WEST.

I mean, Smashing Pumpkins' great song "Tonight, Tonight" was about a spaceship, right?

The commercial value of the song would have been destroyed if they visualized the racist undertones. That's precisely why the guy in the video is white despite the fact that he doesn't look like a "gangster" and his crimes were not committed "in the streets." The absurdity of the video in that the actor playing the lynched man being white simply shows the point, not rebuts it.


Look, a bunch of white conservatives who come from a culture that flies the stars and bars while calling liberals who oppose the war anti-american are going to do NOTHING to convince me that the text of the song has strong racist undertones, and that at a minimum, Keith (who wrote the song), and Nelson (who endorsed it) should KNOW BETTER.
9.29.2005 5:37pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I've heard of Smashing Pumpkins--my wife is a high-school teacher--but I prefer the Tallis Scholars and country music. I have no idea about "spaceship" or whatever it was.

The point stands. By imputing racism to others, you build yourself up. I should say you only build yourself up in your own eyes.

I like country music, and I like especially Toby Keith, and I spent two summers in Mississippi in the Sixties doing the civil rights thing when so many who now talk stoutly of "The Struggle" pissed their pants at the thought of going south of Cincinnati. They held themselves out as heroes for cutting class and frisbeeing, or learning to chord "We Shall Overcome" on a cheap fourstring.

Visualize transparency, Justin.
9.29.2005 5:44pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
You need to sit back, have a beer (or maybe valium), listen to some soothing music (obviously not Toby Keith), and think long and hard about the way you view the universe, Justin...

Personally, I see more racist undertones in the fact that you assume any song about "crime in the streets" means "blacks committing crimes." Sound absurd? Less absurd than "the actor playing the lynched man being white simply shows the point, not rebuts it." You really need to chill out.
9.29.2005 5:45pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
And by the way? Still a great song. And I don't usually care much for music videos, but Willie drawing that slim gold revolver at the end (before turning the "bad guy" over to the proper authorities) was rather slick.
9.29.2005 5:47pm
Victoria (mail) (www):
Aultimer: Then we're talking about different kinds of music. If you turn on a "country" music station anywhere in the country, you will hear 50 Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith songs before you hear a single one by Johnny Cash.

And the same is true of not hearing the best of 50's, 60's and 70's Rock-n-Roll on mainstream pop music radio channels.

The fact is, everything which is au courrant in each musical genre, will take precedence over the older versions.

This isn't either unfortunate or sinister (somehow). It's just a fact of life.

In my city, we have a C&W radio station that plays relative oldies like Cline, Cash, Jones quite regularly.

Sadly, not all C&W radio stations (particuarly in the larger NE cities) do so.

Today, however, we have Sirius satellite radio stations who not only offer you these speciality genres, but indeed, you are often swamped with choices.

Rockabilly
Bluegrass
Bluegrass Pop
Ole Opry-style

Etc. etc.

There's life out there beyond Alan Jackson and Toby Keith.

Cheers,
Victoria
9.29.2005 7:10pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
errr... OK.

Perhaps you didn't read the context...

Aultimer: "FWIW, Garth, Chesney and their mulleted-clones aren't really C&W, it's pop with cowboy hats."

Me: above quoted statement.

I believe I made the exact same point that you seem to want to pounce on me for. They are really different genres. We call 50's Rock "oldies" now... if you say "rock music" today, you don't mean Elvis. Whatever your opinion of the current batch of country music, that's what it is. Toby Keith and Alan Jackson. I happen to like it, but I don't disparage you for enjoying your sirius stations with the old stuff.

And also, look at the context of the discussion. If we're talking about the "politics" of "country music," we're talking about Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks... not Johnny Cash or some bluegrass band from the 50s that I can't name.
9.29.2005 7:21pm
Victoria (mail) (www):
Victoria, the righties on the blog take that liberals are unpatriotic as a grain of salt. The liberals on this blog are tired of raising the complaint to end up in a loaded, unfair debate asking "Do liberals hate America?", like Eugene Volokh forced us to go through months ago. Better just to rephrase the questions in our head and get on with it.

Ah, thanks for shading in the background, Justin. I read Volokh only occasionally.

I'm not the kind of person that divides the world into right or left necessarily, since this is too simplistic for words, but I can tell you one thing about this phenomenon you mention:

The way a person looks at the world will often determine who or what s/he is, and this goes for politics.

And it is generally true to say that if you're a patriotic person -- that is, you have gratuitous affection for your country, without strings attached, and you look around America, and are confronted with two sides of the political spectrum...

...what side would you be more comfortable aligning yourself to?

It's not that people of liberal politics are not patriotic -- only but the most rabid ideologues would claim otherwise, if they were being honest with themselves.

But it is safe to say, don't you think, that there enough people within those ranks who are not patriotic, or find that ONLY criticising their country is patriotic.

It then becomes a question of numbers, and tolerance for that attitude, as well as the more personal one of perception.

Example: I am a patriotic American, yet I was born in Britain. Of course, I was a patriotic Brit too.

So in my case, it's very much my inherent world view which formed my political convictions, and not the other way around.

In the case of Country Music, you'll find that people like what the genre for a myriad of reasons, but also because it speaks about their values, not just reflects them.

The same is true of the Pop Music for the last 40 years.

Cheers,
Victoria
9.29.2005 7:23pm
Jeff Boulier (mail) (www):
Thanks for everybody's suggestions! Extra props to Sam for "King of the Road", which I'd forgotten gives a nice example of inflation. Rooms certainly don't let at fifty cents anymore. Any other good econ songs that illustrate concepts that show up in introductory micro/macro classes?
9.29.2005 7:38pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Did anyone mention Song of the South?

"Somebody told us Wall Street fell, but we were so poor that we couldn't tell.
Cotton was short and the weeds were tall, but Mr. Roosevelt was gonna save us all."

"Papa got a job with the TVA, we got a washing machine, and then a Chevrolet"

I'm sure that speaks to some sort of econ concepts... speaks to the political discussion as well.
9.29.2005 7:43pm
HaggardFan (mail):
Merle Haggard on the 2000 election recount: "I feel violated as a citizen." If people talked this kind of stereotypical trash about black music, they'd be called racist. Music cannot be true or false. It can only refer to conventions of truth and falsity. (Simon Frith)

Left Americans who abandon common cause with America's working-class, non-white and white as well, deserve their marginality. And they do many fine people a disservice when they condescend.
9.29.2005 7:46pm
Jeff Boulier (mail) (www):
No one yet has mentioned the funniest thing about "Whiskey For My Men and Beer For My Horses", which is the way Willie Nelson sang it at Kucinich appearances. For example, Willie's 4th of July celebration:


Dad [Willie Nelson] and Toby [Keith] sang their number one single, "Whiskey For My Men and Beer For My Horses" bringing a landslide of cheers from the crowd. Dad brought out Dennis Kucinich, his favorite presidential candidate, and introduced him to the audience. Dennis smiled, waved and stepped back as Willie Nelson and Family closed the July 4th portion of the picnic around 1am.


It's hard to think of a less Kucinichy song!
9.29.2005 7:48pm
Columbienne:
Eh, Willie was just playing cowboy when he sang that song. Maybe Kucinich likes to play cowboy too.
9.29.2005 8:22pm
cathyf:
The main characteristic of country music lyrics is self-deprecating humor. Completely incompatible with modern liberalism's utterly humorless elevation of victimhood. Also, it uses such traditional elements as harmony, being on pitch, clear ennuciation. Clearly in contrast to the eternal struggle against The White Male Hegemony...

cathy :-)
9.29.2005 8:59pm
therut (mail):
Well as someone who grew up country and listening to the Grand Ole Oprey on my grannies ole radieo at night to go to bed and who really did and still does put peanuts in her coke--------------Country music is REAL. It is about the life of the common man and woman. Yes it is Right Wing. Absolutely. As the real common man and woman are in no way left in the USA, Why you ask. Because they are very individualistic and proud. County boy or girl can survive even the Collective idiocity of the left. They want to be left alone by government not babied by it.
9.29.2005 10:12pm
therut (mail):
Just as aside Willie is our own hippie. We tolerate him because we know he is a little touched in the head----- just like we would a family member who is not quite right.
9.29.2005 10:16pm
cathyf:
One of my favorite lines was about Willie and his trevails with the IRS. One of the news magazines was doing a story about how he owed them hugely more than he could ever pay, and they were taking everything away. A reporter was interviewing a friend of his, and said something along the lines of, "This is terrible, Willie is totally destitute, he owes so much, he'll never have anything because it would take several lifetimes to pay what he owes." Willie's friend got this really funny expression on his face and said, "yes, this is a really terrible thing -- if it had happened to somebody else. This would be just awful, if it had happened to someone who gives a shit!"

I could only wish to be that cool...

cathy :-)
9.30.2005 12:16am
therut (mail):
Willie has had a curious life. I think his touched mentality happened when his wife sewed him in the sheets while he was drunk and beat him with a baseball bat. Or at least that is a story I heard him tell.
9.30.2005 12:25am
bobbie:
For what it's worth, Toby Keith is a registered democrat.
9.30.2005 2:33am
Victoria (mail) (www):
For what it's worth, Toby Keith is a registered democrat.

Exactly.

Also, as interviewed on the Country &Western TV channel by Dan Rather, Keith is also not particularly pro-Iraq war.

Still doesn't stop him from loving and supporting his country, oftimes in a visible outward manifestation of such, known as patriotism, doesn't it?

Cheers,
Victoria
9.30.2005 3:57am
Victoria (mail) (www):
UPDATE: I have edited the post at Miss Barrett's request. I would also add that I agree with her point that being patriotic should not be considered inherently "right wing" -- but it is nonetheless understandable that public expressions of patriotism are typucally viewed as such today.

I still don't agree with that last bit, but regarding the correction and update, I'll echo Minnie Pearl on Hee-Haw by saying:

Thank you kindly!

Cheers,
Victoria
9.30.2005 3:59am
Aultimer:
As for economic topics in country - "The Year 2003 Minus 25" is both comically wrong and prescient.
9.30.2005 9:40am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
For what it's worth, Toby Keith is a registered democrat.


He's also from Oklahoma not Texas which was basis for Justin's early "racism" smear.
9.30.2005 12:03pm
Cowboy (mail):
Well,let's see...I gather Toby is a right-wing Democrat,who
almost certainly voted for President Bush in 2000 and 2004.
There were PLENTY of xenophobic,if not racist,songs which hit
the Country airwaves right after Sept.11,2001.But now for my
reason for blogging.I'm a 52-year-old black Windsor,Ont.,
Can.-across the river from Detroit,Mich.-who wants to be a
Country singer/songwriter.I'm into traditional,cowboy and
rockabilly material-I've written 30 such lyrics,though I write neither music nor melody.Would my supposed black cowboy
looks and,in a couple of my works,a bit,um,challenging words
be a help or hindrance in launching a career?
2.10.2006 9:28am
victor (mail):
Most country songs are conservative. But some Dixie Chicks and Willie "The Pothead" Nelson songs are left wing. The right wing country singers are Charlie Daniels, Hank Williams Jr., Daryl Worley, Aran Tippin, Rhett Akins, Montgomery Gentry, George Strait, Mark Chesnutt,Tracy Byrd, John Anderson and Billy Ray Cyrus. Now Toby Kieth is Democrat. But Toby is a Conservative one. Merle haggard is a Conservative Independent.

Why do you think they call them Rednecks? Because they're Right Wing.
5.22.2006 1:23am