The New Republic
by David Browne
How country music lost the election--and why that may be the best thing to happen to the genre in years
Admittedly, it's difficult to fire up a crowd before a concession speech. Yet on an Arizona stage on election night, there stood Hank Williams Jr. and Big & Rich's John Rich, alone with their guitars and trying, in vain, to rouse John McCain's admirers shortly before McCain officially threw in the towel. In an election full of culturally symbolic moments, here was another: the sight of two country stars, from two different generations, looking testy yet powerless--visual proof that among the many losers in last week's elections was country music itself.
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Why Country Not Only Survived but Thrived
By Barry Mazor
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2008
If you tuned in to the CMA Awards on ABC last week to catch performances by young country stars Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley and Sugarland, or by veterans Alan Jackson and George Strait, you are not alone. This year's telecast of the country music awards was seen by more than 34 million viewers. You might have seen the September telecast of last summer's CMA Music Festival, too -- the only festival of any musical variety that is broadcast on network prime time. If you're not sure who or what the "CMA" behind those events is, you're not entirely alone in that, either. But the Country Music Association, based in Nashville, is marking its 50th anniversary this month.
Today, country music is an exception in the ailing music business, a genre still thriving in tough times.