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Monday, November 28, 2011

Country Music in the White House

Last Wednesday’s PBS special Country Music: In Performance at the White House offered exceptional performers, exceptional songs, exceptional musicianship. For anyone who sniffs at country music, it underscored that we only cheat ourselves by ignoring the best in a musical genre—any genre. The performers—Dierks Bentley, Alison Krauss, Lyle Lovett, the Band Perry, James Taylor, and others—captivated a packed East Room, including Barak and Michelle, who sat front-row center and frequently appeared  on camera enthralled by the music.

Steve Earle (Not Invited); Lauren Alaina (Invited)

Those images may have resonated with a viewer demographic of independent voters who might make a difference at the polls next November. As the concert rolled out, this blogger fantasized: Wouldn’t it be the cat’s pajamas if Steve Earle and the Dixie Chicks appeared among the invited musicians? Both, after all, were fellow travelers with Mr. Obama in their opposition to the run-up and wonder years of the Iraq War. Both received death threats and hate mail; Dixie Chick records fueled hefty bonfires.

Lyle Lovett (Invited); The Dixie Chicks (Not Invited)
 Don’t blame Obama, though, for leaving them off the performers list during an election year. Steve and the Chicks may exemplify Profiles in Courage, but they’ve been preternaturally divisive with voters from the heartland. Still, if you have any hopes of seeing them play the East Room by 2016, electing a Republican offers no prospect. In the spirit of the greatest American Yogi, a second Obama term with its political flexibility is the only fork that you should take.

Steve Earle in The Wire (a Barak Obama favorite)

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