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date: 25 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter covers the politics of country music through a variety of different angles. First, it explores country music’s intersections with electoral politics, as candidates have employed country songs or artists in support of their campaigns, or as country artists themselves have run for political office. Second, it looks to the history of political subjects appearing in country songs, from the beginning of hillbilly recording in the 1920s through the debates over the Iraq War in the 2000s. Finally, the article posits a shifting cultural politics of populism that surges through the history of the genre, a tendency of identifying the “nation” and the “people” with the audience for country music. Artists of note who appear in the analysis include Jimmie Davis, the Dixie Chicks, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Eck Robertson, and Woody Guthrie.

Keywords: country music, Jimmie Davis, Merle Haggard, music’s politics, populism, Woody Guthrie, Dixie Chicks

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