I am not and never have been a fan of the Dixie Chicks. I’ve liked some of what they’ve done, but overall their music has never been my cup of tea. But I find myself rooting for their success with the release of their new album, Taking the Long Way. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of other people feel the same way.
The Dixie Chicks have faced what a lot of Americans have faced, but have done so in a very public manner. By voicing their dissent in regard to the war in Iraq and condemning President Bush, they have all but been blacklisted in Country music. What success they have enjoyed since condeming President Bush and facing the incredible over-reaction by the Country music industry has come largely from Pop cross-overs. I hope that trend continues, because I would love to see the Dixie Chicks continue. If for no other reason than to annoy the crap out of the Right-Wingers all over the country, whose typical reaction to anyone who disagrees them is to attempt to silence their voice. I hope that every time the Dixie Chicks sing a song, the Right-Wingers shiver.
Well, I don’t criticize anyone for their musical tastes, but this whole thing sums up why I don’t listen to country music. You must remember that I am someone who has in his CD collection music by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams (I, II and III), among many others that are considered to be legends in Country music. The problem here is that they’ve stopped making Country music. What exists now is a format and form that fits an ideology. It’s the soundtrack to a political point of view. The Conservatives saw that Bill Clinton used Rock and Roll, and so they adopted Country music. The result was propaganda.
Frank Bell, VP of programming at independent Froggy radio, said “I think when you look at what country music and country music listeners are all about, it’s family, fun, faith and flag. I haven’t heard the whole CD, but the singles have none of that.”
That explains somewhat the incredible outpouring of emotion and propaganda that has surrounded the Dixie Chicks’ latest album. The Dixie Chicks broke with formatting.
They broke away from the very things I hate about contemporary Country music. I’ve travelled extensively in the United States. I’ve been in countless truck stops where contemporary Country music was playing over the intercom. And I must say that it’s virtually impossible to tell one singer or song from the next. But what makes it so grating is that on top of that incredible banality they pile on ideas such as patriotism and love of country, and somehow portray this drivel as the music of the American patriot. Rock and Roll is for anarchists. Country is for Americans.
This is not a dissection of the relative merits of Country music versus Rock and Roll, but rather a rant about how an entire genre of music has been taken over by a Right-Wing ideology. If our democracy falls to the one-party theocracy that the Religious Right and Right-Wing Conservatives are aching for, it will largely be accomplished to a Country music soundtrack.
I don’t see that the Dixie Chicks have any choice but to leave behind the lemmings who constituted their original fan base. To that end I offer them the best. I believe that I may very well buy their new CD just to help them shake a fist at these charlatans in Country music who wrap themselves in the American flag and then betray American democracy by demanding that any voices that contradict their own be silenced immediately.
I have to say, given the level of discourse going on surrounding the Dixie Chicks and their latest album, they will most likely do just fine. If for no other reason than that the furor will compell a lot of people to come see what all the fuss is about.