Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Music I: Thinking, Not Merely Singing

I love all kinds of music with the exception of polkas. About five minutes worth will last me for months.

That love includes country and western music. But I'm talking about the real roots kind, not the erzatz "My wife cheated on my dog and he stole my pickup truck" variety that pollutes America's airways.

So I already had a pretty good case of the ass before the outpouring of support for President Bush from too many Nashville musicians whose brains are in located their third legs. Therefore, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks was a a bit of a breath of fresh air when she declared from a London stage in 2003 that she was ashamed to be from the same state as the president.

Maines has reinforced her view in a Time magazine interview, declaring that
I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President. But I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.
The Chicks have long wanted to break out and get airplay on non-country radio stations. As career destructive as it may be, they have tacked leftward since the London outburst although there were radio boycotts and many fans abandoned them.

Then in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Maines said:
For me to be in country music to begin with was not who I was . . . I would be cheating myself . . . to go back to something that I don't wholeheartedly believe in. So I'm pretty much done. They've shown their true colors. I like lots of country music, but as far as the industry and everything that happened ... I couldn't want to be farther away from that.
Now the Chicks have released "The Long Way Out," their first new album in three years. It includes several songs with political overtones, and the reaction from Nashville and country radio has been predictable.

CNN reports that the first two singles off of the new album are not doing well and some stations have renewed their calls for a boycott:
At KNCI Sacramento, California, the Chicks' music weathered the 2003 controversy only to be pulled as a result of Maines' new Entertainment Weekly comments, coupled with poor scores in local music tests.

"When an artist says that they don't want to be a part of that industry, it made our decision a no-brainer," program director Mark Evans says. "There are too many talented new artists dying to have a song played on country radio, so I'd rather give one of them a shot."

Translation: We won't play musicians that think, not merely sing.

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