Michael McDonald*, Someone is Hot On Your Heels

We don’t watch a lot of television. I’ve said that here many a time. So, last night, after getting back from an awesome bike ride in Lawrence with D and Gimpy*,


imagine my surprise to come home to Sarah watching the season finale of American Idol. Thankfully, she was watching because we got to catch a killer live performance by Prince. But I digress. My wife was in a state of shock and awe. Not because of the show itself, but because of the reaction to the show and how many damned people were in that theater and how many people voted (“more than have ever voted in a Presidential election” Sea Breeze was quick to point out) and how many people actually care. I’m sitting in my basement, covered in mud, dazed with my wife at the hubbub before us on the telly. Why so much hullabaloo? So one bland singer can have a shot at __________? Don’t get me wrong. I think Castle Greyskull can sing like a champ – and I’m sure he’s got a long career awaiting on Lite Rock stations across the nation – but zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…that dude’s an American Idol? I repeat zzzzzzzzzzz. I demand more. I demand my American Idols to be more like Karen O. or John Ferguson. In fact, I’m going to e-mail John and suggest he try out for the next season of AI (no, I don’t know him, so that should prove all the more interesting). 

In other music news, yesterday after work I kick on the ol’ 96.5 and hear the Dixie Chicks and I think I’ve got the wrong station but then I remember the furor that the Dixie Chicks have created in their genre’s camp* and I think Lazlo’s fun enough to play them and sho’ ’nuff, he is. Then the calls started coming. Most were supportive. But there were a few who called and legitimately thought that these girls were a disgrace and I thought, well, country music has never had much a space for protest songs but what takes more courage: welcoming voices of dissent or shunning them? More importantly for country music artists and fans, why is free speech OK only when speaking about kicking someone’s ass to defend the Red, White and Blue? 

*This is Michael McDonald: oh sweet freedom

I shit you not – NPR just played a Michael McDonald song after talking about last night’s Idol.

* poor gimpson. his shoes got wet and he had crappy pedals so his ride was cut short. 😦

* key quote: “…when asked, programmers and consultants that listened to the project were virtually unanimous in saying we should put the politics behind us and concentrate on all this other great music we were hearing.” We’re in a war for fuck’s sake! Is there some better time for music that expresses a political opinion? This attitude pisses me off.

Michael McDonald*, Someone is Hot On Your Heels

6 thoughts on “Michael McDonald*, Someone is Hot On Your Heels

  1. This is an awesome post! I love it! I was trying to feel a little less sad about “more votes than any presidential election” by thinking that teenage girls were voting over and over and over again versus each one being a unique vote. It’s sad regardless. heh.


  2. Yes, definitely need new pedals before the next ride on dirt, but I still had fun. Couldn’t have found a worse place to wipe out either: right at the halfway point of the ride, pretty much as far from the car as possible.

    Also, the amount of Michael McDonald on my iPod would probably make you sad. I can at least claim that I’ve only seen about fifteen minutes of American Idol, ever.


  3. Now, now…the roots of country are much more subversive than today’s young country/pop country would lead you to believe. Think Hank, Johnny, Waylon, Merle, Kris, Willie. Take it back even further to its folk Americana roots and you get the good old Commie pinkos of the first folk revivial in the Depression/alphabet soup welfare of the 20s and 30s.

    Contemporary country music today is a disgrace compared to where it came from…


  4. i couldn’t agree more with your last statement. the thought did cross my mind when writing this post that in the history of country music, given all those artists you listed, plus the fact that this music came from an overlooked underclass, shouldn’t we expect a more tolerant attitude from country fans regarding voices of dissent? in the end, i figure that most fans of today’s country music a) don’t much care for or care to know the country music of yesteryear and from whence it came and b) are interested in the music’s history only when it suits what they already think to be true about it (i.e., “Honky-tonk music is for kicking ass and drinking beer…”).
    i did completely forget about kris.
    could you do me a favor and post the names of any of those early, politically-minded songs for people, myself included, for reference purposes?


  5. Think Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, folks along those lines. Pete Seeger revitalized many of them and contrary to popular opinion, I think Springsteen’s latest does the genre justice.

    Also, pick up Greil Marcus’ “Invisible Republic.” While Marcus — an academic and former Rolling Stone writer — can be a bit long-winded at times, he weaves an incredible yarn between those early eras of folk through to the revivalists in the 60s and beyond. His tome on punk, “Lipstick Traces,” is a damn fine read too.


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