Ignorance like a gun in hand
reach out to the promised land
Your history books are full of lies,
media -blitz gonna dry your eyes
You're eighteen wanna be a man
Your granddaddy's in the Ku Klux Klan
Taking two steps forward
and four steps back
Gonna go to the White House
and paint it black
Turn around, they'll try to keep you down
Turn around, Turn around
Don't drag me down

--Mike Ness

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I finished the play list for my blog last Wednesday. When I started making the list I set out with the intention of achieving a number of goals. First I wanted it to be entertaining, when people visited and read my posts I wanted them to hear some music and say “hey, that’s a good song.” As music is a very subjective thing, I’m not sure this goal could ever be achieved in the way I envisioned. Second, I wanted the music to be reflective of the blog, or more accurately myself, since the blog has in a very strange way become a deeply personal reflection of those parts of me that don’t normally make the light of day. Ask anyone who knows me well and I think they will tell you I don’t let much to the surface most of the time. I think I achieved that goal. Third, I wanted the songs to be stuff I actually listen to and reflect the passion that I have for music in all of it's variety. I had a good time picking the songs and they span a wide range of musical styles and time periods. Yes, you could walk in on me at home and be likely to catch me listening to any of this stuff. Lastly I wanted a variety, so I told myself that I would not repeat myself. I would not put twenty five songs by Duran Duran. So I worked hard to avoid repeating artists. I would say I achieved that goal, now some of you are going to say “Hey dude you have Johnny Cash on there twice, once for “Hurt” and he sings on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”. Well technically you would be right, but “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is a collaborative version with about 30 artists. It is a tribute to Mother Maybelle and for those two reasons doesn’t count. My blog, my rules, nobody messes with Mother Maybelle.

There is only one artist that is in the list twice, that’s the Dixie Chicks. I have a reason. Maybe you remember that the Chicks ran into a little controversy in London. This was just prior to the Iraq invasion and on stage during a concert, band member Natalie Maines said “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas” as a transition into their song “Traveling Soldier”. No as you know I’m a bit of a conservative and was a Bush supporter, so this didn’t sit too well with me. It didn’t sit too well with country music fans either. The back lash that the comment generated was unbelievable. The Chicks became hated literally over night. County Music radio stations refused to play any material by them, some of their fans threw away all their albums. There were even some CD burnings that were strangely reminiscent of the Nazi book burnings of 1930. The Chicks received hate mail and death threats. Now as I said the comment didn’t sit to well with me, but I didn’t go off the deep end either. Admittedly the Chicks weren’t on the top of my play list at the time but I didn’t hate them, I didn’t get rid of our Chicks albums. I didn’t want Natalie dead.

Now I’m a conservative and I’m proud of my country. I would say the thing that I’m most proud of is the United States Constitution. I hold that particular document more sacred than most people hold religious texts. Let’s face it, weather anyone likes it or not Natalie had a right to be ashamed that the President was from Texas. She had a right to say it. She had a right to say it anywhere and anytime she chose. It's a right guaranteed under Amendment one. The freedom of speech. Natalie had right to petition her government for redress of grievances and if she chooses to do it in a public forum in England, well then so be it. That’s the bit that those who were calling the Chicks un-American forgot. Disagreeing with the government in power is perhaps the most American thing a person can do.

Over the next few years the chicks would be largely ostracized by the corporate country music establishment. They did try to do a little damage control, but it was too late and I think they knew it. I guess taking the hit from the things you say is a little American too. One thing I will give Natalie credit for; she didn’t deny it. She didn’t try to white wash it and say she didn’t mean it. She held firm to what she said. She held firm to her shame. In 2006 the Chicks produced an album titled “Taking the Long Way”, it got almost no air play. It also debuted at number one on both the pop and country charts. In 2007 the album won five Grammy’s including best album, I have listened to it and I think it deserved it. I respect the Dixie Chicks for that accomplishment and so have included a second song in the list, the 2007 Grammy Award winner for best song “Not Ready to Make Nice”.

Here’s the thing for me and there is no getting around this. I disagree with Natalie, that’s my right. She also has the right to disagree with me. I have the right to not listen to her music. She has the right to not read my blog. I also have the right to respect her for standing up for her rights, for being American enough to not back down. I disagree with Natalie Maines, but, if push came to shove I would be willing to pick up a rifle and defend her right to voice her disagreement with me, you, the government or anyone else who came along.

I wonder if she would be as amused at the irony as me.



  1. Head Artichoke said...

    Who knew you had some musical taste? I don't think I've met anyone who knew Transvision Vamp since leaving Australia.

    And Tomorrow, Wendy. Wow.

    As for the right to question the government. I don't think Fox News or half the country agree with you.

  2. Charles D. Leibrand said...

    You knew I had some ;). I'm a big fan of Transvision Vamp; they are hard to come by though. I have some of their stuff on cassette from my high school days.

    Wow, as in never heard Concrete Blond before or didn't know any one else who listened to em?

    I'm used to people disagreeing with me.


  3. Lisa said...

    Matt you better be careful.

    You're going to give him a big head.

    and that's kinda my job. ;)

  4. Head Artichoke said...

    I know Concrete Blonde - didn't know anyone else did and certainly wouldn't have expected anyone else to know that song.

  5. Charles D. Leibrand said...

    Yup, know em, like em a lot. Have some stuff on cassette. actualy I have as good a collection of stuff on cassette as on cd, no way to transfer them to pc though.


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