Friday, July 20, 2007

Rednecks and Country Music

There's a perception that country music fans don't like the Dixie Chicks. I'm not sure that's true myself, I think country music radio owners dont like the Dixie Chicks and I think that's a very different things. CMT kind of avoid them, and they don't get any country music radio play, but they're still selling records.

I guess there are some country music fans that don't care for the Dixie Chicks because of the attitude, there are country music fans who actually think it's cool to be a stupid, reactionary redneck.

The Dixie Chicks are pretty much as redneck you can get in Texas outside of those living out in the woods in East Texas.

Natalie Maines was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas. West Texas has spawned a lot of country music names Buddy Holly (Lubbock), Mac Davis (Lubbock), Waylon Jennings (Littlefield), Jimmy Dean (Plainview), Tanya Tucker (Seminole), Roy Orbison (Wink), Bob Wills (Turkey). Joe Ely (Lubbock) to name just a few.

How much more country can you get than Lubbock, Texas?

But West Texas rednecks are different, I think. I think they tend to be more progressive than the typical southern redneck or rural midwestern redneck. I'm not sure why. I think it's because they don't have the civil war related violent racial history that places as diverse as Kansas and Alabama share. West Texas had nothing to do with any of that stuff. When the Klan was being formed in post Civil War Tennessee West Texas was ruled by Comanche Indians.

Natalie is the one who made the on stage crack about Bush and Texas that set the whole thing with the Dixie Chicks off.

The New York Times seems to think that Natalie, and the rest of the Dixie Chicks, are in trouble with country music fans because they look down their noses at them.
Country fans are loyal, but they're not low-maintenance. By the time Ms. Maines made her statement in 2003, many were already questioning the trio's commitment: would they leave their old supporters behind?

For mistrustful listeners in search of an answer, Ms. Maines's comments provided one. Forget about President Bush: she had used the words "ashamed" and "Texas" in the same sentence, and she had done it on foreign soil. She meant to insult the president, but some former fans thought they heard her insulting Texans, and therefore Southerners, and therefore nonmetropolitan listeners everywhere.

This interpretation may seem specious. And yet Ms. Maines and her band mates seem to be going out of their way to prove their detractors right. Instead of fighting for their old fans, the Dixie Chicks seem to be dismissing them.

On "60 Minutes" Ms. Maguire told Steve Kroft that their concerts weren't typical country concerts. "When I looked out in the audience, I didn't see rednecks," she said. (Did her lip curl slightly as she pronounced the r-word?) "I saw a more progressive crowd."

There's probably some truth to that among the true trailer park rednecks of country music fans. I just don't think that segement is really all that large a portion of the market for country music sales. Not all country music fans spend their evenings throwing beer cans out the car window and shooting deer rifles at road signs.

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