Country Music Radio, Hypocrisy and Denial

After the controversy surrounding the leader singer of the Dixie Chicks (Natalie Maines comments about being ashamed of President Bush) the Chicks were virtually banned from country radio. And now that most of the world (except the neo-cons and the evangelical right) would be ashamed of him too, you would think that they would be getting more play on the country stations. Not the case. I looked on some country station web sites and couldn’t find the Chicks on the playlists. And that really is a shame, because the music is very good. And although “Taking The Long Way” is double platinum, many country fans and station programmers regard the group as untouchable, and unplayable. The girls have expressed the view that they could do just fine without mainstream country, and that appears to be the case. They are on a successful concert tour, but it’s not sold out, and some dates have been canceled. The release “Not Ready to Make Nice” sums it up, from the Chicks point of view. And the video is now enjoying nine weeks at the top of VH1’s countdown. 10 is the record, they should tie that next week. So the fans and radio stations are giving up on the Chicks to their own loss. Oh well.

And for the hypocrisy part-the Chicks were ostracized for something they said, not anything they did-here comes good ole’ Troy Gentry (of the duo Montgomery Gentry) tame bear killer. He stands accused of allegedly killing a tame bear that he purchased. He killed it with a bow in an enclosed pen. Of course, they are just allegations at this point, and he may be exonerated. If guilty, he could face jail time and stiff fines. But instead of running from him like they did the chicks, the fans and the stations can’t get enough. As someone who is a real hunter, I am digested by this type of hunt. It is no different from the Dick Cheney quail shoot, save for the fact that no one got shot in the face. “Hunters” like those two give the rest of us a bad name. But because he is an avid supporter of the far right agenda, he isn’t paying a penalty with country music.

What is sad is that because of the perceived political stance of the Dixie Chicks country fans and stations tried to run them out of business. The very good music the Chicks play is shunted aside by audio-crap like the tripe put out by Carrie Underwood.

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