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02 June 2006

please help Country Music get a brain transplant / Fear Channel crams the Flag in your ear / Reuters on Dixie Chicks' new album

from Robert Altman's "Nashville" (1975)
For people with brains, a stethoscope
into the sad disease of contemporary Country music.

I lied. I'm sorry. Reuters didn't review The Dixie Chicks' new album. It's just a news story about its release, and the War between The Dixie Chicks and US Country radio stations, all of which are now owned by the same monolithic monopoly, I think it's called Fear Channel. They own every radio station in North America.

Hmmmm ..... why has Country devolved from its beautiful, true, authentic Scots-Irish folk roots into a degenerate cockroach hypercommercial music genre which demands that all its fans love crappy pre-lost anti-Asian genocidal Shock and Awe wars? Or else you're a traitor? How did Country get this way? Can't somebody fix it?

Later, we can try to do something about making the actual music good and beautiful again. It's been Total Drek since about 1965.

Rent Robert Altman's movie "Nashville" and "O Brother, Where Art Thou"? Make it a popcorn double feature in your living room.

Willie Nelson writes and sings Country, and there's all sorts of evidence that Willie Nelson has a Very Big Brain, enormous talent, and doesn't think everybody's a traitor if they don't love the Iraq War.

Willie Nelson plays himself as a murder suspect in an episode of "Monk." Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective, loves Willie Nelson, and Willie invites him to ride in his tour bus. As Monk (a former police officer) steps aboard the bus, he suddenly becomes alarmed and alert.

MONK: Did you smell that???

WILLIE: No. And neither did you.

And then there's my darling Emmylou Harris, the enormously talented Country Singer from Another Planet. You can buy everything she ever sang, and you'll never hear a single hint that you're a traitor if you don't support some fucked-up pre-lost racist war. I think she's very patriotic. I think I'm very patriotic. If you want to end the Iraq War immediately, I think you're very patriotic.

Country Music needs a Brain Transplant immediately, or else it and its radio stations will keep being that way. Won't you please help?


Reuters (wire service, UK)
Wednesday 31 May 2006

Dixie Chicks
at record stores

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- Country trio the Dixie Chicks, the darlings of Nashville until their singer criticized President Bush three years ago, opened at No. 1 on the U.S. charts on Wednesday with their first studio album since then, but sales were sharply lower.

"Taking The Long Way," their third chart-topper, sold 525,000 copies in the week ended May 28, according to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan. The figure ranks as one of the biggest openings of the year, and exceeds industry expectations by more than 100,000 copies.

But it paled against the 780,000 copies that their last studio release, "Home," sold during its first week in August 2002. It spent three weeks at No. 1, and has sold 5.8 million copies to date. In April another country trio, Rascal Flatts, opened at No. 1 with 722,000 copies of its new album.

The lower sales for the new Dixie Chicks album were not unexpected given that country radio is largely ignoring the Texans. The first single, the defiant "Not Ready To Make Nice," stalled at No. 36 on Billboard magazine's Hot Country Songs chart.

On the other hand, the trio has garnered plenty of attention in the mainstream media, with a Time magazine cover story, and a segment on CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes."

All the attention -- or lack thereof -- stems from a throwaway comment made by singer Natalie Maines during a London concert in March 2003. She told the crowd that the band was embarrassed to come from the same state as Bush. If one critic had not mentioned it in his review, she might have gotten away with it, but it quickly escalated into a major incident.

Radio stations stopped playing their songs and organized public destructions of their discs, sales slumped, death threats ensued, and country stars like Toby Keith bashed them. The women have largely laid low in the past few years to focus on their expanding families, and recording the new album in Los Angeles with rock producer Rick Rubin.

At this stage, it's possible the Dixie Chicks are abandoning their country music base, rather than the other way around. Rubin is best known for his work with funk-rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who had ruled the charts for the previous two weeks, and with deceased Nashville renegade Johnny Cash.

[uhhh okay i asked my 13-year-old nephew if he knew who the Red Hot Chili Peppers were, and he said, "Uh, aren't they some kind of Geezer Band?"]

"I'd rather have a smaller following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith," Dixie Chick Martie Maguire told Time. "We don't want those kinds of fans."

As for their other albums, their 1998 debut, "Wide Open Spaces," peaked at No. 4 a year after its release, and has sold 8.5 million copies. Their 1999 follow-up, "Fly," opened at No. 1 with 341,000 copies and has sold 8.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The Dixie Chicks are signed with Columbia Records, a unit of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which is a joint venture between Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG.

- 30 -

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


The Business Journal of Jacksonville
(Jacksonville, Florida USA)
18 March 2003

Dixie Chicks axed
by Clear Channel

by Michael Fitzgerald

Country music's No. 1 act, The Dixie Chicks, have been pulled from radio playlists thanks to a remark singer Natalie Maines made in London last week.

"Just so you know," Texas native Maines said on stage, "we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas." Maines added she felt George W. Bush's foreign policy is alienating the rest of the world.

Her remark unleashed a nationwide backlash. The group's records have been pulled by dozens of country-music stations across the country, including two Clear Channel-owned stations in Jacksonville, WQIK 99.1-FM and WROO 107.3-FM.

"Out of respect for our troops, our city and our listeners, [we] have taken the Dixie Chicks off our playlists," said Gail Austin, Clear Channel's director of programming for the two Jacksonville stations.

That's a big leap in logic, said media expert Dennis Stouse, a Jacksonville University professor and chairman of the school's department of communications. "It doesn't have anything to do with our troops or our city."

Punishing Maines for speaking her mind does not fit into the American idea of democracy, he said. "We should accept the fact that there are viewpoints we don't agree with." Celebrities have as much right to make political commentary as do television pundits, he added.

Maines apologized for the remark last Friday. However, Clear Channel confirmed Tuesday the group's music is still not being aired by either station.

Clear Channel Communications is based in San Antonio, Texas.

- 30 -


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