Can there possibly be a more succinct distillation of the Bush administrations worldview than country star Toby Keiths lyrical post-9/11 promise to put a boot in your ass? In this sharp yet dishy book, Chris Willman explores country musics embrace of such shit-kicking conservatism and how it became the unofficial soundtrack of the Dubya years.
As a fan, Willman appreciates countrys catalog of cantankerous songs slamming hippies and extolling God and the flag. But as a writer for Entertainment Weekly, he also knows that the genres current political bravadolike anything coming out of Nashvillewalks the line between authenticity and slick marketing. While you can count openly liberal country stars on one hand (due largely to the fear of being Dixie Chicked into oblivion), Rednecks reveals that many Music Row execs are outspoken liberals who know that tunes like I Raq and Roll are simply good for the bottom line. Conservatism is part of the country brand, a way to appeal to its red-state fan base. Willman provides plenty of teases for outgunned bluenecks, though. After all, no better a source than Dennis Kucinich booster Willie Nelson confides that Tobys also a Democrat, you know
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