when country music deals with social issues its focus is often on

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Country Music Loretta Lynn Long Lead Tease Promo Social Media Video YouTube PBS Dated National 30

Roosevelt anticipated an easy victory over his Republican opponent, Kansas governor Alf Landon, and expected to win of the available votes in the Electoral College. In fact, Roosevelt earned 61 percent of the popular vote and came away with every state except Maine and Vermont, an unprecedented votes 98 percent in the Electoral College.

Senate suggested his national political career would be anything but stodgy. The camera then cuts to dark interior shots of new legislators being sworn in Decca country musician Webb Pierce was a highly successful s recording artist of the Nashville country music industry. Since its release, however, it has largely been interpreted as an unapologetic expression of woman as submissive helpmate. In , an African-American country musician named O. Singer-songwriter Steve Young has played a significant role in the evolution of country music, having been a pioneer of both the country rock and outlaw country movements and having inspired numerous contemporary Americana musicians.

The country music establishment, however, has not adequately acknowledged Young for his contributions, although the musical footpaths he blazed became superhighways that provided other performers with established routes to stardom and success. In this oral history, Young tells his own tale of struggling against injustice, alienation, commercialism, In previous work on country music, I have written of the many distortions in contemporary representations of the American working class, including not only the overwriting of working-class realities by middle-class narratives but the erasure of past working-class progressivism by presentist perspectives and prejudices.

The period interests me as one Garth Brooks has sold more albums than any other solo artist in the world. He does not have the flamboyance of Elvis, the mystery of Prince, or the enigma of Michael Jackson. Even within the boundaries of country music superstardom, Brooks is not iconoclastic as is Willie Nelson, nor is he blustery like Toby Keith. He presents himself as an unassuming guy with an ordinary background. But he is charismatic, and over the years, he At the end of the second verse, Peele—bewildered and incredulous—demands that But it also sonically mimicked the braggadocio and rhythm of African-American popular music.


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But with the opioid crisis in full swing, drug addiction is as pressing an issue as ever. This song does what it can to show that addiction affects everybody. The protagonist in this song is "just a normal guy" with a normal job who gets high in a church parking lot.

How Can Music Inspire Social Change?

Kacey Musgraves' first single "Merry Go 'Round" took a realistic look at the darker realities of small-town living. But "Follow Your Arrow" was a huge revelation in country music at the time. Yes, the lines about doing or not doing drugs and the "can't please anybody" attitude got people talking, but her lines advocating same-sex relationships made her a progressive hero. He knows the country was built on the bones of Native Americans and feels shame for not standing up to racists jokes.

It's a wide-ranging gamut that manages to be both introspective and socially conscious. About a month before the election, Radney Foster warned of the perils of political extremism. A lot of people equated the song with calling Donald Trump a fascist. Foster responded to that with a thoughtful note saying the song is not about "him," but about "us.

Willie Nelson is one of classic country music's biggest activists alongside people like Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. When we do, I think we will continue to find the cues and clues to how country legitimizes white supremacy.

When country music deals with social issues its focus is often on

For the Zac Brown Band, freedom is only something that troops fight for overseas. Sorry, I just thought you might need an Alan Jackson water ski break. This is why we need to keep in mind that not just any whiteness will do here— country is tasked with constructing a specific kind of whiteness. But when McCarthy attacked the Weavers as communist sympathizers and Pete Seeger was called to testify before the Committee on Un-American Activities, the word folk was politicized. The country music industry continues to be as committed as ever to producing this sound of pro-establishment, American whiteness.

Though, by the way, plenty of other country fans embraced the song. What makes a song country? Evangelical Christianity and African musical influences? Concerns with family legacy? Love of whiskey and guns? Offering advice?


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  • Feeling sentimental about Bible-thumping and open roads? Putting child-rearing and sibling relations over sexual adventures with lovers or bonds with friends? Honoring the patriarchy? Concerns with good and evil and a determination to be good? Shouting out to Texas? Horse-opera riffs that remind us cowboy movies helped make country country? Doing right by Mama and listening to Daddy? Another country is possible. So what are we gonna do about it? Americana is very directly tapping into that mythology.

    In other words, Bad White People listen to country music. Good White People listen to everything but. This is where we need to talk about Americana. Recently the genre of Americana has emerged out of a hazily-defined murk to take on a more institutionalized and profitable form. Bad White People listen to country music.

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    Good White People listen to Americana. But wait! Americana is not the same as country music! Especially in America, those roots come from all over the world, borrowing and blending all kinds of musical elements along the way. Obviously there is a little confusion here in terminology: is roots music a kind of Americana or is Americana a kind of roots music?

    What has America been singing about? Trends in themes in the U.S. top-40 songs: 1960–2010

    What is this new genre even called? No Depression , which started out as an alt-country journal back in the 90s, merged in with Fresh Grass. By the way, where is gospel in any of these lists?


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    3. What has America been singing about? Trends in themes in the U.S. top-40 songs: 1960–2010.

    Expanding the definition to include other genres like blues and jazz, while making it technically more diverse, does not change this fact unless you take country music out altogether. Also, is it just me, or is that actually the same blond lady in the center of all three pictures? Or we can look at the Americana awards if you want.

    None of them won. Yes, the performers at the show are more diverse than who gets the awards, but the fact is that the people who are nominated and the people who are winning are almost all white. How to move forward with voters who share that sentiment? Look, I know that everyone has good intentions about making Americana diverse. It just means thinking about who is seen and recognized, who is not, and who has the power to decide.

    I know there are plenty of advantages to working for change within Americana instead of within the country music industry. This is country music too! We could welcome all those who want to make this music and all those who are its fans. We could build spaces for the music to live where everyone feels at home.

    I believe that we can build another country. I know it will be an epic struggle. But we are country fans! We are not afraid of a trip to fist city! Commit to Diversity for Real. Supporting a diversity that goes deeper than surface level takes time, effort, a commitment to listening and learning, and, above all, the investment of serious resources. First and foremost, we must make it absolutely clear that as a community of musicians, industry people, and fans, we are committed to ending white supremacy.

    That we believe Black lives matter. If there is no organized, anti-racist, progressive voice as part of our musical culture, why should anyone believe that things have changed? Next, we must get to work in every corner of the industry that brings this music into the world. Yes, we need to look at the songs we sing.

    Especially at the language and images they use. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.