We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas. – Natalie Maines
I don’t even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching. – Merle Haggard
Last night over dinner the subject of The Dixie Chicks came up, and I got mad all over again. Which is unfortunate, because when you think about artists that talented the last thing on your mind ought to be anger. But still, it’s been six long years now since “the top of the world came crashing down,” and I can’t quite free myself of my rage at the staggering ignorance that led so many Americans to piss on the 1st Amendment by attempting to destroy the careers of Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson. Continue reading Still not ready to make nice: what does the Dixie Chicks saga tell us about freedom in America?
Trusting is one thing I don’t know
When it comes to the campaigning men
But I’ll meet you at the election
When I vote for the hope of this land
– Sean Kelly
You may have noticed, if you’ve been paying attention, that the music industry has gone to hell of late. It isn’t that nobody is making good music anymore – on the contrary, there are legions of fantastic bands and artists out there. It’s just that the best ones rarely get played on the radio; the recording industry cranks out nothing but imitation, prefabricated product – the musical equivalent of Cheez-Whiz (Now With Zero Intellectual Calories!); the RIAA – the body that’s allegedly working on behalf of artists – never misses a chance to kneecap young, developing musicians; and if an artist is making a living, it’s probably at a day job and not with his or her music. Continue reading ElecTunesDay: ending the War on Music
I’ve been a very big Don Dixon fan since the late ’70s, so when his new CD, The Nu-Look, dropped I was bouncing around the living room like Snoopy doing a happy dance. Sadly, a lot of people don’t know Don’s music – although many know his work as the producer of Murmur and Reckoning by REM and multiple records from The Smithereens and Guadalcanal Diary (as well as stuff from Chris Stamey, Beat Rodeo, Kim Carnes, The Connells, Marshall Crenshaw, Hootie & the Blowfish, Tommy Keene, Let’s Active, James McMurtry, The Pinetops, The Reivers, Matthew Sweet and X-Teens).
The new disc marks something of a departure. Continue reading TunesDay: what is, what was and what almost was – the S&R interview with Don Dixon
A few weeks ago I watched The US vs. John Lennon, a documentary chronicling the extraordinary lengths the American government went to in order to silence an artist who had the audacity to speak out against corruption and injustice. Of course, Lennon came from an age when artists did that sort of thing, and he wasn’t the only musician to get on the nerves of the authorities during the tumultuous ’60s and ’70s. I imagine the FBI had a file on folks like Bob Dylan, too.
But we don’t live that world anymore, do we? These days the pressure to shut up and sing is greater than ever, and those who benefit most from our silence have engineered newer and more effective means for muzzling the consciences of those whose voices can actually be heard above the deafening white noise.
Last night my wife and I watched Shut Up and Sing, another documentary about an artist who had the temerity to speak the truth. Continue reading Real heroes refuse to shut up and sing
Editor & Publisher reports that the Clinton campaign is soliciting input for its official campaign song. The official choices are:
- The Dixie Chicks: “Ready to Run”
- U2: “City of Blinding Lights”
- U2: “Beautiful Day”
- Smash Mouth: “I’m a Believer”
- The Temptations: “Get Ready”
- Shania Twain: “Rock This Country”
As much as I love U2, Hil’s chances of landing my vote took a serious hit (if you’ll pardon the expression) when I saw that she’s considering feckin’ Smash Mouth. Continue reading Hillary needs your help: nominate a campaign song
Steve Reynolds, friend of the Pit, sent me today’s NY Times op-ed by Bob Herbert, and it just set me off on some things I’ve been meaning to say lately. So I said them. Have a look at the op-ed first, though.
Sorry folks, but this little editorial just caught me wrong.
The ultimate irony is the nature of who’s doing the yelling and why. The semi-literate yahoos calling for Natalie Maines’ head are also the people who stand, every 4th of July, and sing Lee Greenwood’s famous patriotic anthem at the top of their goddamned lungs, because, you know, “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.” Continue reading Shut Up and Think