Rednecks and Bluenecks by Chris Willman
The Politics of Country Music

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An up-close-and-personal take on country music's vast political discord.

"Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."—Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, March 2003

"You'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
'Cuz we'll put a boot in your ass
It's the American way."
—from "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)" by Toby Keith

On the eve of America's invasion of Iraq, the Dixie Chicks went from being the leading lights of country music to heartland pariahs, thanks to one Bush-bashing aside on a London stage. A year later, the list of entertainers stumping for Dubya consisted almost exclusively of country stars such as Brooks & Dunn, Lee Ann Womack, and Travis Tritt. How did the erstwhile music of the rural working class come to be the music of choice of the GOP?

In Rednecks and Bluenecks, Entertainment Weekly senior writer Chris Willman looks at the way country's increasing popularity and conservative drift parallel the transformation of the Democratic South into the heart of the Republican mainstream. Meanwhile, for all those Steve Earle souls trapped in Toby Keith counties, alt-country has emerged as a refuge for the loyal opposition. Written with intelligence and wit, Rednecks and Bluenecks makes clear that country and its offshoots represent a strain of American culture where a passionate political debate is taking place.

Original interviews with artists including: The Dixie Chicks, Toby Keith, Steve Earle, Brooks & Dunn, Willie Nelson, Roseanne Cash, Travis Tritt, Rodney Crowell, Kris Kristofferson, Gretchen Wilson, Lee Ann Womack, Ricky Skaggs, Linda Ronstadt, Nanci Griffith, Alan Jackson, Sara Evans, Tim McGraw, Buddy Miller, Drive By Truckers.

About Chris Willman

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Chris Willman is a senior writer for "Entertainment Weekly". His writing has also appeared in the "Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone", and "Newsday", and he has made appearances on VH1, CNN, and MTV. He lives in Los Angeles.
Published November 17, 2005 by New Press, The. 302 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Country is, by definition, the music of country people.

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