In one of the most polarizing political administrations in United States history, many country singers are faced with a tricky decision when it comes to letting their political views be known. Apart from a select few tweeting positively about the Women’s March or Lee Greenwood and Toby Keith‘s performances at the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Nashville’s elite have avoided the topic like the proverbial plague.
So why the unusual silence from artists with a generally conservative-leaning audience? Angaleena Presley of the Pistol Annies revealed her thoughts on the matter.
“I wish that more country artists would speak out — because we are from those little towns. Rural America needs a voice in this country,” said one-third of the country music trio (featuring Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe) according to the Washington Post. “I mean, we write songs that they relate to. Because we are them.”
Following her participation in the Women’s March on Washington, the Kentucky-native says her family views her as a “liberal hippie chick.” However, Presley says she would never judge someone based on their political beliefs.
“I would never be this Trump supporter-bashing person…a lot of Trump supporters, I think they want change. And in rural America, it’s tough,” she continued. “I believe in honesty, I believe in equality, I believe in choices, I believe in freedom over your own body, over what you think. So it’s really hard to get behind someone who doesn’t necessarily exhibit those values, or anywhere near them.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, “Back Road Song” singer Granger Smith believes he holds no obligation to speak on this subject.
“I don’t need to tell people what I think. I’m a musician. What does my opinion matter over anybody else’s?” Smith said at an interview with Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. “I’m a firm believer that if I live a life with integrity and honesty and credibility…that’s enough of an example that I don’t have to start talking about what I think about politics or the latest executive orders in the White House.”
In the past, country singers have historically used their music as a tool to speak their minds on the political state of the nation. Johnny Cash brutally spoke his opinion of the Vietnam War in opposition of the draft with his song “What Is Truth” while Merle Haggard released his troop-supporting ballad “Okie From Muskogee”. The two stars remained best friends in spite of landing on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
So what do you think? Do you think country stars should remain silent or speak up? Let us know in the comments!