The Liberal Country Music Fan

Welcome to the Liberal Country Music Fan blog. Life sometimes gets a bit Blue for us country music fans on the Left. With any luck, this blog will provide a home and a voice to us Roosevelt-lovin' Rednecks. It'll be our "Big Blue Note".

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dixie Chicks 526,000, Nay-sayers 0

Despite a near total blackout on country radio, the Dixie Chicks sold 526,000 copies of Taking the Long Way during its first week of release. The sales total was enough to put the album at the top of the U.S. sales chart (not to mention the U.S. country sales chart).

By comparison, Toby Keith’s latest CD, White Trash With Money, sold 330,000 copies in its first week, and it had an amazing single all over country radio prior to its release. The Chicks' previous two studio CDs, Fly and Home, had first-week sales of 382,000 and 780,000, respectively. Both of these CDs were released prior to “the Incident” of 2003. It appears the Chicks haven’t lost any ground! We’ll know for sure when we see if the Chicks can maintain the sales momentum over the long term.

Taking the Long Way had the second best first-week sales of the year for a country album, behind only Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang, which also had a wildly popular single on country radio. I guess the Chicks sound pretty damn good with their “foot in their mouth”...

Expect the nay-sayers to spin the “drop” in first-week sales with respect to the Chicks' last album, Home. These folks should be reminded that the Taking the Long Way had the second-best debut of the entire year, which also featured new CDs from Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, and Alan Jackson. The spinsters should also know that Fly went on to sell 8.5 million copies, despite having opening sales that were about 150,000 less than those of Taking the Long Way.

New Brunswick, Liberal Country Fan's Adopted Canadian Province

When I started Liberal Country Fan, I never expected that the site would develop a significant following in the eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick. I figured Canadians in the Prairie Provinces, which are known for their large country music fan base, would be interested, but the New Brunswickers have blown me away with their commitment to the Liberal Country Fan cause. As a show of gratitude and as an educational opportunity for all, I thought I’d dedicate a post to honoring Liberal Country Fan’s proportionally huge New Brunswicker readership.

After doing some research into New Brunswick and its musical heritage, it is no surprise to me that the province has a strong confluence of left-leaning politics and country-leaning music tastes. Covered by the Appalachian Mountains, victim of a long-suffering economy, and home to a strong sense of tradition, New Brunswick is reminiscent of West Virginia, a state smack in the middle of America’s country music heartland. Similarly, just as in West Virginia, rural values and the working class ethic, which are traditionally so important to country music, seem alive and well in New Brunswick. However, whereas some rural and economically disadvantaged areas in the United States similar to New Brunswick have, unfortunately, allied themselves closely to the party that can least help them, New Brunswickers voted strongly to the left in the last Canadian national elections. The province has a conservative provincial government, but solid-blue California does as well.

Canadian folk-country mega-legend Stompin’ Tom Connors was born in New Brunswick. Connors was voted #13 on the Greatest Canadians list, beating out Neil Young, Shania Twain, Jim Carrey, and even hockey superstar Mario Lemeiux. Although almost completely unknown outside of Canada, his "Hockey Song" is played in NHL arenas everywhere.

The town of Miramichi, NB and its hinterland are particularly known for country music, owing to the area’s joint Acadian, Scottish, and Irish heritage. Since Acadians and Cajuns are very closely related, it’s almost like New Brunswick is Louisiana and Tennessee all rolled into one. No wonder NB folk are country folk! New Brunswickers will get to show off their love of country during this year’s Canadian Country Music Awards, which will be held in September in the largest city in New Brunswick, Saint John.

Finally, this post should probably be translated into French as New Brunswick is the home to a significant francophone population. If you think this population couldn’t possibly be interested in country music, think again. Alive and well in NB is the genre of franco-country, which is essentially country music sung in French. I wonder what Bill O’Reilly would have to say about that...

New Brunswickers: Did I miss something? Make a mistake? Fire me an e-mail or leave a comment! Also, I am looking for a Canadian who is interested in blogging about Canadian Liberal Country Fan issues. Send me an e-mail if interested.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

See Reba Diss the Chicks (And Watch Eddie Montgomery Make a Fool of Himself)

An enterprising YouTube citizen has posted a short video of Reba McEntire’s pitiful barb at the Dixie Chicks at last week’s Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, which Reba was hosting. Click here to watch!

The video is angering (What a bunch of bullies!), but it is required viewing for those following the Chicks. Particularly telling are the audience reaction shots:

John Rich (of Big & Rich) and Sara Evans both laughed politely, possibly worrying sensibly that, thanks to the bullying nature of much of the country music industry, they too could be a single sentence away from ending their careers...Talent or no talent.
Big Kenny, the other half of Big & Rich, was being his typical self and not paying attention.
• Eddie Montgomery (of Montgomery Gentry) gave Reba a passionate, standing ovation.

We have not yet discussed Montgomery Gentry and their catchy - but occasionally shockingly idiotic - brand of countrified southern rock. I’ll leave that for another (long) post another time. However, I hope that one day, I’ll be able to give a standing ovation to future ACM host Tim McGraw when points out the idiocy of the following song lyric from Montgomery Gentry’s “You Do Your Thing”:
I ain't tradin' in my family's safety
Just to save a little gas
What about the effect gas has on our NATIONAL safety, not to mention GLOBAL safety, Mr. Montgomery? Can you believe these guys are considered patriotic, and the Dixie Chicks are called traitors?

But enough ranting. Check out the video. It’ll make you cringe.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Big & Rich Honor Those Who Served in Vietnam

With an orchestra backing them, Big & Rich gave a powerful performance of “8th of November” at the National Memorial Day Concert last night. Big Kenny, one half of the Big & Rich duo, told the audience that he hopes the song will help everybody feel “a little bit of what [our soldiers] went through” during the Vietnam War. Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump"), who hosted some of the concert, said to Big & Rich, “The power of country music comes so much from personal, emotional stories.” In this way, Big & Rich have written a powerful song, indeed.

Click the picture below to see a video of the Big & Rich portion of the concert. Particularly moving are the video shots of Big & Rich’s friend Niles Harris, the subject of the song, who was in the audience for the performance.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Big & Rich To Perform at Memorial Day Concert

Proving once again that they can do solace and respect just as well as they can do spectacle and raucousness, Big & Rich are performing at tonight’s National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. Fresh off their appearance at the Rally to End Genocide in Darfur, the country duo will sing their uncontroversial but emotional Vietnam War song, “8th of November”, at tonight’s concert. “8th of November” presents the story of Big & Rich’s buddy Niles Harris, who is a survivor of a massive ambush by the North Vietnamese Army.

The concert, which also features country darling Lee Ann Womack, begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. It appears that it is airing tape-delayed at 8 p.m. on the West Coast as well. Check your local listings.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Weekend Dixie Chicks Fun: A Good Morning America Concert Video

After a week of intense Dixie Chicks news and commentary, I thought it’d be a good idea to bring the discussion back to where it all started for the Chicks: their incredible music.

Click on the picture below to see a video of the Dixie Chicks performing “The Long Way Around” (off of their new album) on Good Morning America. Enjoy!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dixie Chicks Roundup

Many visitors have been wanting to know what we got on the Dixie Chicks, given that this is their week to shine. Here are some of my favorite recent posts:
  1. More on Reba McEntire v. the Dixie Chicks
  2. How Many Records Could Bush Sell This Week?
  3. Reba Puts Foot in Mouth at ACM Awards With Dixie Chicks Insult
  4. The Best Single on The New Dixie Chicks Album, Coming to a Radio Station Near You?
  5. Dixie Chicks Struggling on Radio, Successful in Time Magazine Covers
  6. Sending Death Threats to the Hand That Feeds You
I'll keep this post updated as we add more Chicks articles. Stay tuned: We got a whole week of Chicks commentary planned!

More on Reba McEntire v. the Dixie Chicks

Country Weekly is reporting that Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards host and country megastar Reba McEntire was initially “hesistant” about saying the now semi-infamous Dixie Chicks insult during Tuesday’s awards show. However, according to the magazine, after Reba got the impression that the Chicks had disparaged her in their Time interview, she decided to go ahead with the cheap shot.

In my initial article on Reba’s pitiful dig at the Chicks, I purposely neglected to include discussion of the aforementioned Time quote from Dixie Chick Marty Maguire. To me, the quote seemed to be not about Reba herself, but instead about the aristitic restrictions of maintaining a very broad pop country fan base. Examine the quote for yourself:
“I’d rather have a smaller following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith” - Dixie Chick Martie Maguire
As one of the only country artists to have outsold the Chicks, Reba must be aware that there is a tenuous middle ground one generally must occupy to sell CDs in pop country. She must also know that one of the reasons she has been chosen to host the ACM Awards eight times now is that she does so dutifully trade artistic freedom for popularity. While I have nothing against making this trade - it’s hard to provide enjoyment to others or express yourself when there is no one to hear your music - I’d expect her at least recognize the ambiguity of the quote and, gasp!, talk to the Dixie Chicks about what they meant before insulting them on CBS’ primetime broadcast. Perhaps Reba was misguided by Maguire’s use of Toby Keith - the Chicks’ former arch-nemesis - as the other pop country example, but in a way, Maguire’s doing so even made her point even better. The chart below shows why:




It’s not difficult understand that the Dixie Chicks would be willing to give up the middle segment of the diagram if it means being able to explore better their own type of music, especially given the events of 2003. With this Venn Diagram in mind, its easy to see that the quote seems much more like a standard opprobrium of popular music from an artistically inclined individual than a vicious attack at a certain low-voiced Oklahoman country star with her own clothing line.

But even if the Dixie Chicks DID meant to insult Reba directly (which, as you can tell, I highly doubt), I still disagree strongly with McEntire’s decision to turn her awards show pedestal into a pulpit for making pitifully snide remarks about the Chicks. When Dixie Chick Natalie Maines made her now super-infamous comments to a London audience, she was speaking for no one else but herself and her band. However, as host for the ACM Awards, Reba was speaking for the entire ACM. Her decision to briefly use her hosting privilege as a chance to jump on the bullying-the-Dixie-Chicks bandwagon reflects terribly on the ACM, and by extension, on country music as a whole. Either Reba should apologize, or the ACM should re-consider asking her back for her ninth time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

How Many Records Could Bush Sell This Week?

While perusing the Country Music Television (CMT) message boards on the Dixie Chicks, I noticed an intriguing statement from one angry anti-Chicks country fan:
“More people support the President...than the Chicks you love."
While this person had no facts to back up his or her claim (and misspelled “George” in the title of the post), s/he does bring up an interesting question: Both Bush and the Dixie Chicks have seen a precipitous fall in popularity of late, but who has fallen lower? Whom does the country respect the least? With Bush consistently getting approval ratings in the low 30s, I’d be willing to bet my entire Chicks collection that Bush would give up all of his Sara Evans CDs if it meant he could be as well-liked by the Nation as the Chicks are.

Some of the evidence behind my wager: A recent poll by a TV station in Lubbock, TX - a town ridiculed directly in the Chicks’ new album - revealed that 80 percent of the station’s viewers will not buy the CD. That means, however, that 20 percent will plunk down their hard-earned cash for the Chicks...And that is in Lubbock! It can only go up from there. In Philly, for instance, 28.8 percent of country radio listeners plan to buy the CD. Imagine what happens when we add in the people who support the Chicks, but don’t like the music enough to buy the album! The sum total will be quite a bit above Bush’s 33 percent.

I wonder how many albums Bush could sell right now? Probably about the same number as social security reforms he sold last year.

Reba Puts Foot in Mouth at ACM Awards With Dixie Chicks Insult

Using her pedestal as the host of last night’s Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, Reba McEntire fired a low blow at the Dixie Chicks:
“I don't know why I was so nervous about hosting this show this year. If the Dixie Chicks can sing with their foot in their mouths, surely I can host this sucker."
According to Reuters, this joke drew the loudest applause of the night. What Reuters leaves out is that if this awards show is like any other awards show, the audience was filled mostly with country music insiders, not fans. The Chicks have been enemies of the country music establishment since well before ”the [Bush] Incident“. As such, it's no surprise that Reba got a positive reaction from the in-house crowd. I don’t think the watching-at-home crowd as a whole reacted similarly. I guess we’ll find out when the record sales figures are released.

But let’s take a step back for a moment: Reba, I hope your joke was meant entirely in good humor. However, it if it wasn’t, I have a question for you: Does the following situation sound familiar?
A very popular country music singer uses her time on stage to insult a common enemy of a friendly audience without the enemy represented in the audience (the Dixie Chicks were not at the ACM awards).
Hmm.... Where have I seen this type of situation before? Oh, yes! It’s why you and your country music industry old boys claim you are mad at the Dixie Chicks in the first place! (One of the only plausible reasons cited by the anti-Chicks brigade for why the Chicks were singled out for their statements - whereas, say, Tim McGraw can say similar things without any repercussions - is that the Chicks ”cowardly“ did so on foreign soil.)

Let’s examine this blatant hypocrisy in chart form:


It's the same damn thing! This just makes my blood boil. Reba, by your anti-Chick brigade’s own logic, you are a coward (not to mention a hypocrite). I swear, the more I cover the Dixie Chicks, the more I understand their pessimism about the country music industry.

However, despite my anger, Reba, I promise you the following:
  1. I will not ruin your career by boycotting your records (or your clothing line).
  2. I will not send you death threats (in fact, I really like you most the time).
  3. I will not embarrass you in front of all of your colleagues when you are not present.
Before I close, I’d like to make a brief point in Reba’s defense. Prior to her Chicks comment, she made the following, much saner joke:
"Sugarland is the nominee for the album ‘Twice the Speed of Life’, which we can assume is not about FEMA."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Best Single on The New Dixie Chicks Album, Coming to a Radio Station Near You?

I’ve been doing my initial listens to Taking the Long Way and, bar none, “The Long Way Around” definitely sticks out as the best single on the album. The song will no doubt succeed on the country airwaves if it is given a chance by station managers and listeners. You heard it here first.

“The Long Way Around” is an autobiographical tune - it includes many lyrics referring to “the incident” - that features the following:

1. a catchy melody
2. somewhat of a country sound (not a guarantee on this album, by any means)
3. a groovin’ driving beat.

Most importantly, "The Long Way Around" shares the self-empowerment spirit of several of the Chicks’ megahits of yesteryear without the pessimism of "Not Ready to Make Nice", the first single off the new album. In other words, it’s the perfect feet-on-the-dash, the-world-is-your-oyster road trip song with a soul. Who wouldn’t want to hear that on the radio? Only somebody with a closed mind and lots of Dixie Chicks baggage.

One caveat: “The Long Way Around” has a verse that includes the word “ass” and speaks of smoking with hippies. “Asses” and pot have been the subjects of many a country song - “Kick My Ass” by Big & Rich and "Weed With Willie” by Toby Keith, for example - but I’ve never heard either mentioned directly on country radio. But who better than the new Dixie Chicks to break the long outdated and unspoken ban on weed and the word “ass” in country singles?

Amazon.com is hosting a video feature about "The Long Way Around". It’s worth viewing (or two).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dixie Chicks Struggling in Radio Charts, Successful in Time Magazine Covers

The Dixie Chicks tomorrow release their new album, Taking the Long Way. As such, you can pretty much call this Dixie Chicks Week on Liberal Country Fan.

To start out the week, the Billboard wire service has published an article that suggests that the Chicks are finished on country radio. According to the article, the first two singles off the album, “Not Ready to Make Nice” and “Everybody Knows”, have peaked at No. 36 and No. 50, respectively, on the Billboard country singles chart. Granted, these are disappointing figures, but the article also reveals that “Not Ready to Make Nice” peaked at No. 32 on adult contemporary charts. This last statistic somewhat negates the entire premise of the article. Since “Not Ready to Make Nice” achieved approximately the same peak on country and adult contemporary charts, one cannot conclude that the Chicks have a “seemingly growing” rift with country radio. Instead, what these statistics show is that “Not Ready to Make Nice” simply was not a good choice for a single, at least in the context of commercial radio success. It's definitely not the Chicks' best song ever (my personal review). In addition, given that the song is about as far from happy-go-lucky as possible and has no romantic content at all, I am not surprised that it was not a runaway hit with the average radio listener. Moreover, the song’s rather intense and angry lyrics probably made it even less popular among radio station program directors, who understandably don’t like to piss off their listeners. In fact, the article quotes a Miami radio station program director who was quite upset at the group’s decision to release “Not Ready to Make Nice” as their first single:
“[I was] stunned, especially in light of the fact that, when asked, programmers and consultants that listened to the project were virtually unanimous in saying we should put the politics behind us and concentrate on all this other great music we were hearing."
Did Natalie, Emily, and Martie make a stupid decision with "Not Ready to Make Nice", or did they have a plan? My money's on the latter because one thing is very clear about the Chicks' choice for their first single: it may not have been the best song for radio, but it was certainly a boon for generating other types of publicity. Namely, the song's controversial content helped place the Chicks square on the cover of this week’s Time Magazine. Could Natalie and crew have sacrificed a little radio play for a lot print play (not to mention a 60 Minutes interview)? I definitely wouldn’t put it past them, and I definitely wouldn’t put a death date on their country radio tombstone either.

I have not yet heard “Everybody Knows” and I’ll reserve my judgement on its radio potential until tomorrow, when my copy of Taking the Long Way shows up at my digital doorstop (via iTunes).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

John Rich: A VERY Generous Man

Living up to the lyrics of several of his songs, John Rich of Big & Rich was reported to have given a $1,000 tip on a $45 bar tab while in D.C. for the Rally to Stop Genocide in Darfur. The lucky bartender, a fan and fellow West Texas-native, apparently got on Amarillo-born Rich’s good side talking about Texas sports.

A lyrical excerpt from “Kick My Ass” off of Big & Rich's debut album, “Horse of a Different Color”:
“Well I walked up to the bar
I laid down my platinum card
Then I ordered fifty longnecks for my new friends...”

Chesney Performs at White House, Receives Boots as Party Favor

The devoutly apolitical country superstar Kenny Chesney briefly put aside his flip flops and straw hat on Tuesday night when he performed at the White House’s black-tie dinner for visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard. President Bush was, of course, in the audience.

Although Chesney’s appearance at the White House may appear implicitly supportive of Bush, Chesney recently told X Radio that he has absolutely zero political ambitions:
"I'm probably the least political person in the world. That doesn't mean I don't care what's going in our country, but I don't want to run for office. I just want everybody to get along and be happy, and that's it."
The Washington Post is reporting that Connecticut-native Bush presented Chesney with a pair of customized cowboy boots featuring the initials “K.C.“ and the United States and Australian flags. According to the Post’s report on the dinner, Chesney wore the size 7 1/2 boots (You know what they say about a man with small feet...Small shoes) when he performed.

The Post article also reveals an embarrassing fact about Bush, Jr.: he owns two dozen cowboy boots by the maker of Chesney’s boots, RJ’s Boot Co. Moreover, Bush, Sr. apparently has sixty freakin’ pairs in his closet! That rivals Elton John’s sunglasses collection. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton owns a dozen pairs himself, but at size 13, his are three sizes bigger than Bush, Jr.’s. Maybe size does matter...

The take-home message:

* Chesney = size 7 1/2
* Bush, Jr. = size 10
* Bush, Sr. = size 11
* Clinton = size 13

Photo by Evan F. Sisley of Bloomberg News.

Keith Urban, Condoms, and My Overture To The Religious Right

Well, it’s official: country star Keith Urban and movie star Nicole Kidman, the two sexiest people South of the Equator, are engaged. Many readers of this website have likely greatly enjoyed a Keith Urban fantasy or two, and to those readers, I can only offer my deepest and sincerest sympathies.

But Liberal Country Fan ladies (and some Liberal Country Fan men), do not despair! There may be some good to come out of this! Hiding within the cloud of sorrow of your loss may lie a light of political opportunity: an overture to the Religious Right.

I’ll explain.

The Liberal Country Fan is all about improving this great country (the nation AND the music), and sometimes improvement involves compromise. However, the Religious Right is one of the most impossible movements with which to compromise. But news of this recent Aussie Amalgamation provides us with the perfect key to starting a dialog with the God For Present brigade. Pat Robertson and friends, I’ll support a ban on contraceptives, but only in the case of Nicole and Keith. It’s a win-win. You’ll like that seed is not being wasted, and I’ll like that there will be a guaranteed large supply of sexy sexy sexy people for my children to fantasize about. They may not have clean air to breath, but with a plethora of Urban-Kidman offspring running about the globe, my kids won’t care!

Now, Pat, about your stance on homosexuality...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sending Death Threats to The Hand That Feeds You

In last night’s interview with 60 Minutes (and a couple days beforehand in press releases), the Dixie Chicks revealed that at least one of the death threats lead singer Natalie Maines received was more than an abstract expression of hate. According to Dixie Chick Emily Robison,
"There was one specific death threat on Natalie. [It] had a time, had a place, had a weapon. I mean, everything. . . . 'You will be shot dead at your show in Dallas.“
Maines adds:
"We flew in [to Dallas] on a jet … and we went straight from the police cars to the stage and straight from the stage back to the police cars and back to the plane”.
I have one thing to say to whoever wrote that threat and to those who blew Maines’ comments out of proportion in general: you have made one of country’s best bands in a generation want to leave country music. The Chicks’ press materials for their upcoming album, Taking the Long Way, have been very adamant about describing the album as only partly country, with the Chicks leaning toward more rock stylings. Certainly, the first single from the album, “Not Ready To Make Nice” has only one foot in Dixie and the other foot in Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner. Banjo player Martie Maguire explained her increasing distaste for the genre to 60 Minutes:
"I think for a while, a lot of [country] artists were doing a lot of great things … that were broadening the audience so that country was cool. So it makes me sad that it's kind of reverted back to a place that I'm not that proud of — and this is coming from a true country fan. I can't listen to the radio right now."
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the Dixie Chicks are country’s eighth best-selling act...ever. In addition, at 28.5 million total records sold, they are country music’s number one group...ever They’ve out-sold Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Fill, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, and even Johnny Cash. More importantly, the Chicks are incredibly talented and have contributed immeasurably to the genre as a whole. There’s no doubt that they were one of the reasons I got into country, and they remain one of the reasons I love the genre.

And because of death threat-writing, record-burning shmucks like the person who sent the Dallas threat, the Dixie Chicks are feeling disgusted with the genre. If the Chicks decide to leave country, it will be country music and all of its fans that lose out. Thank you, Dallas idiot.

Hell, even Bill O’Reilly says enough is enough:
"Natalie Maines has paid the price for her remarks. Her life has been threatened, and she remains under siege. That is wrong as well. The woman has a right to believe what she wants to believe. You have a right to reject her beliefs and not to buy her stuff. But to punish her further is not in the spirit of America."
Shockingly, Bill even advocates for the Chicks’ new song:
”It's a pretty good song. There is no reason [for radio stations] not to play it.“
This is a slight exaggeration, but imagine what rock would be like if the Beatles were pushed out of the genre in the middle of their career? I worry that country may miss out on its "White Album" or "Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" if the Chicks leave the genre.

(Context: In case you forgot, the Dixie Chicks were met with unprecedented and shocking criticism - death threats included - after Natalie Maines said the following to a London audience in 2003: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.")

Sunday, May 14, 2006

TV Alert: Dixies on Sixty Minutes

Ahead of the May 23 release of their 4th album, Taking the Long Way, the Dixie Chicks (iTunes) will appear on CBS’ Sixty Minutes tonight. They’ll be on the tube to talk about how much they love their music, their husbands, and their children... Um, yeah right. Of course, they’ll be discussing the continuing hullaballoo surrounding the Chicks’ lead singer Natalie Maines’ anti-Bush comments three years ago.

We’ll have more on the interview once it airs!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Putting A Birthday Hat on Top of My Cowboy Hat

All good country boys love their mommas. Today is this country boy’s momma’s birthday. Here’s to a whole ton more, Mom!

Behind Every Good Male Country Artist is a Good Male Producer

Apparently, female producers for male country singers are somewhat of a rarity in Nashville. GAC reports that Alan Jackson (iTunes) and Toby Keith (iTunes) are the only two major male country singers to have worked with female producers. The good news: this could be changing. Both Alan and Toby made the switch recently, possibly indicating that the winds of producer gender change may be blowing... no, not that kind of gender change. I don’t think that’ll ever be accepted in Nashville...

Toby’s recent album White Trash With Money was co-produced by Lori White. Alison Krauss (iTunes), of all people, is producing Alan’s unnamed upcoming album. That’ll be one to check out.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Midterms are SO Un-country

So my other job - being a grad student at UC Santa Barbara - won out for the past week and a half. Yes, even wannabe cowboys have midterms. My rule-of-thumb is to follow the rules-of-thumb of my favorite Bruce Springsteen website, Backstreets.com. They go two weeks or so without an update at times. I only made ya’ll wait 1 1/2 weeks, so be thankful. Wanna help make updates more frequent? Become a contributor! Send me an e-mail for more info.

In any case, I’m back in the saddle again. Hell, I never left it.

And speaking of wannabes and saddles, check out this poser atrocity from the bicycle heaven that is UCSB. I don’t think this is what Kenny Chesney (iTunes) is talking about when he sings:

Well she ain't into cars or pick up trucks
But if it runs like a Deere man her eyes light up



Get a real farm, buddy!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Saddle Up, Liberal Cowgirls and Cowboys: We Have Defined Goals!

What’s a political movement without defined goals? The answer: a disorganized political movement. What’s a disorganized political movement? The answer: a useless political movement.

In that vein, I have drafted a brief set of goals for this blog. Let me know what you think via comments or via e-mail.

Goals of The Liberal Country Fan:

1) to help unite the large minority of country music liberals
2) to help remove the negative connotation of the word “liberal” in the country music world
3) to help remove the negative connotation of the words “country music” in the liberal world

Big & Rich Deliver "Rousing Performance about Hope" at Darfur Rally

Big & Rich (iTunes) played an acoustic set for the “tens of thousands” (ABC) gathered in Washington D.C. yesterday at the Save Darfur Rally.

ABC’s Will Bressman has an excellent brief first-hand account of the rally. He describes Big & Rich’s performance as follows:
While country music and African protests don't naturally go hand in hand, Big and Rich delivered a rousing performance about hope and humanity that fired up the crowd.
Be sure to check out Bressman’s photo blog as well. For more standard news coverage, see Reuters or do a Google News search for “Darfur”. The rally was very successful at gaining media attention.