As a snapshot of the range of political opinions held by country music artists "during the critical three and a half years between 9/11 and Bush's reinauguration, with only minimal editorial interruption," this entertaining if overlong collection of profiles is clear and effective. Entertainment Weekly writer Willman applies his magazine's breezy, irreverent style to explore the left- or right-wing leanings of his subjects, from heavyweights like the Dixie Chicks, Toby Keith, Steve Earle, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black and Merle Haggard to newer, minor artists like the Drive-By Truckers. In spite of Willman's success in presenting these artists in depth, the results aren't too surprising: while there certainly is "a good chunk of Democrats" in the industry, "the stereotype that country music has become the house genre of the GOP isn't easily or persuasively disproven." Most fascinating are the moments when Willman gets the artists to let down their guard, such as when Toby Keith talks about his Democratic tendencies, Ricky Skaggs shows his genuine affection for his more leftist friends such as Rodney Crowell, and Travis Tritt discusses his duet with the left-wing rocker John Mellencamp and unintentionally shows that success still trumps politics in Nashville.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In the wake of the brouhaha over the Dixie Chicks and their views on sharing Texas origins with the president, Willman discovered clashing politics among country musicians and fans. Overall, he muses, the country-music political landscape has experienced the rest of the nation's conservative drift as ever more politicos try to access voters by identifying with pop musicians. If rock is the Left's music, then mainstream country is becoming the Right's, Willman seems to say. But just as there is the occasional right-wing rocker (e.g., Johnny Ramone, Ted Nugent), Willman notes that the scruffy alt-country contingent, personified here by hardcore individualist Steve Earle, is decidedly left of center, or at least quirky, and sets up the potential for political counterpoint on country playlists and county-fair concert lineups. In a bang-up final chapter, Willman takes the example of Merle Haggard opening for Bob Dylan on tour to look at how music makes strange political bedfellows and how artists' perceived politics change over time. An enjoyable, informative survey. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
A well documented book.Your content is very interesting with abundant explanations about the relationship between politics and the stars of country music.
Willman's writing is generally good, but can be a bit over the top. There are some great stories here (particularly about Steve Earle and Toby Keith), but I'm still not sure what... Read morePublished on October 12, 2010 by Alf Landon
In 2002, I had a number-one song for one of the most infamous participants in these heated skirmishes--My List, performed by Toby Keith. Read morePublished on April 3, 2010 by Rand Bishop
The amazing thing about Chris Willman's "Rednecks and Bluenecks" is how much has changed since he wrote the book following George W. Bush's second election victory. Read morePublished on May 4, 2009 by Sam Sattler
If you're like I am, relishing the growth and triumph of the Dixie Chicks during their saga, that's one good reason to read this. Read morePublished on March 25, 2007 by Julie Christensen
Maybe I expected too much. When I first saw the title I jumped to conclusion that the book would be about the "politics" of the country music business, how deals really get made,... Read morePublished on October 11, 2006 by Carl E. Johnson Jr.
I love music - from punk rock to bluegrass- and I am also interested in politics. So I had high expectations for this book. Read morePublished on July 22, 2006 by Chris Luallen
Anyone who loves country music or politics should definately buy this book. Chris Willman goes out of his way to show both sides of the political spectrum. Read morePublished on February 13, 2006 by Maurice