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".

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.")


  • At 6:26 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    There are boundaries that we all can live by--free expression is one. In whatever venue, people who live otherwise bring us all down to a lower denominator than we deserve.

  • At 8:30 PM, Anonymous ArchVixer said…

    It's interesting that you mention Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Didn't they have some pretty damning remarks about Bush when they were down in New Orleans? I don't see anyone running them through the ringer.


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