On the “Hick-Libs”

by David Harris

Several years ago I was shocked when I heard that a Texas country singer whose music I really enjoyed was a Beto O’Rourke-supporter (Ryan Bingham). For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how someone associated with rural West Texas could be on the left.

Around the same time, I heard Kacey Musgraves’ breakout album. I loved (and still do) her western sound and style, as well as her songwriting ability, but the final track on the album (“Follow Your Arrow”) made her leftist persuasions plain.

Over the next few years, a number of country artists (many mainstream) revealed their varying levels of dedication to leftist causes. Some prominent names range from Marren Morris to Sturgill Simpson to more recently Kelsea Ballerini and her drag participants at the CMAs.

One of the best examples of the increasing leftist political colonization of country music came in 2020 when Luke Combs participated in an awkward struggle session with Marren Morris where he ostensibly apologized for his associations with the Confederate flag.

However, mainstream country music is often more subversive than the off-brand, hipster, “authentic” country – snap tracks and hip-hop beats with an accompanying steel guitar is the current vehicle for marketing country, but not as much for marketing progressive politics.

The “raw,” “real,” and “authentic” music of coffee house country is where the social-political goals of Marxist activists really shine the brightest. This stripped-down, folksy, regional, traditional instrumented crooning is seen by its adherents as “the real thing.”

Tyler Childers & Jason Isbell are poster children for this hipsteresque/traditionalist country. Both are products of Appalachia and have legitimate connections to much of what they sing about. Unlike corporate country their music often actually features ties to land and history.

It’s common for millennials/zoomers who vehemently dislike country music to make special exceptions for the likes of Childers, Simpson, Isbell, Musgraves, or on the more “based right” side, Colter Wall and Cody Johnson.

However, it’s impossible not to notice a significant leftist trend among the “musically authentic,” rurally focused musicians. They don’t tend to play big stadiums, opting instead for “art houses” and old theaters in downtown Lexington, Charleston, Birmingham, and Knoxville.

So while the hick-lib celebrities would have us believe that Appalachia and rural Oklahoma is home to covert gay coal miners and queer cowboys, the overwhelming majority of those who they claim to represent can be found at large stadiums cheering Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan.

For more on this from David Harris head over here – and for more from David in other areas head over here.

David Harris is the president of TruthScript. He has been a teacher for a decade, working in private and public schools. Originally from the Hudson Valley region in New York, he currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife and daughter.


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