Politics and Music

The Trumpets of Jericho

Beethoven and Napoleon 

Wagner and the Nazis

"Ohio" and the Vietnam War

"Imagine" and consumerism 

The Dixie Chicks 

Countless examples illustrate the intersection of Music and Politics. Jerry Garcia referenced his group as "just a dance band." Always pondered how we react to our choices of music. Divorce it entirely from the controversies of the day and merely enjoy the artistry or allow it to change the way in which we view the world. Transformative, escapism, nostalgia, intellectual profundity, cultural discovery. Large questions. Your thoughts?


Talking about Garth Brooks and politics, a few years ago Garth came to give a concert in Detroit.  The shows were sold out.  Garth came out in a football jersey #20 with Sanders across the back.  His fans were taken aback.  Garth is supporting Bernie Sanders in the '20 election?  There were jeers.  Both Garth and Barry Sanders went to Oklahoma State and Barry's jersey number was 20 when he played for the Lions.  Garth had to explain it to the crowd.

@rok2id the Dixie Chicks might have a thing or two to say about the matter of personal risk?


Just another needless category.  There’s more than one way to skin a cat.  The cat-skinning, in this case, is artistic expression.  Some artists may choose to express themselves in ways that are more routinely an explicit commentary on social matters and may do it with more frequency than others.  
If the music is good, it’s good.

Yes, “Beer for My Horses” by Toby Keith and Willie Nelson (why, Willie, why?!?!) has all the subtlety, nuance and complexity of a club to the head, but the song is not bad because the ideas expressed are bad (but, in all reality, probably) the song is bad because the song is really, really bad.

Just yesterday, I threw on “Okie from Muskogee.”  I forgot how stupid and bad the ideas expressed in that song were.  I still liked it.  Why?  Well, I guess I just think it’s a good song.

Most musicians, especially rock era musicians, and even later day bluegrass and Americana music artists are decidedly liberal if they are political at all. This uncritical "group-think" is pervasive among them. I note that Bela Fleck of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones even voted for communist Bernie Sanders.

It’s like they all grew up smoking weed and jamming, so they were in that mindset and never outgrew it.

As a conservative, I simply try to enjoy their music for what it is worth and leave the politics aside. But it is refreshing to find someone not indoctrinated as most are or actually even push back against that indoctrination like Kid Rock or Ted Nugent.

I can still enjoy Jason Isbell’s "Georgia Blue" even though the back story is that he named it that way because Georgia went "blue" in the last election cycle. At least the songs on the album (some REM and and other standards) aren’t political even if the artists themselves are.

It’s like Frank Zappa said of these political types of music artists, "Shut up and play yer guitar".