Country music is the nation's most popular genre--with nearly twice as many stations devoted to it than any other--and perhaps its most political. These days, the jingle jangle jingoism from Music Row seems to only be getting louder.
Consider these lyrics from a few recent chart-toppers:
"Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / After 9/11 man, I'd have to say that's right."
"You can stay behind or you can get out of the way / But our troops take out the garbage for the good old U.S.A.""You'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A / 'Cause we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way."
Subtle they ain't. Whatever you think of the work of Daryl Worley, Clint Black and Toby Keith, they have plenty to tell us about the state of the union. We may not always like what we hear, but as Chris Willman suggests in Rednecks & Bluenecks, country music is "a window into every aspect of lower- and middle-class life, the civic by no means excluded."