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Yeehaw! A lil' country in the white house

katlaughing 21 Jul 09 - 11:45 PM
Murray MacLeod 22 Jul 09 - 02:22 AM
katlaughing 22 Jul 09 - 12:41 PM
Amos 22 Jul 09 - 03:18 PM
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Subject: Yeehaw! A lil' country in the white hous
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 11:45 PM

From the NYTs (I love the quote at the end by Alison Krause about banjos in the White House!)

Worlds of Country Music Fill a White House Bill
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

Under the crystal chandeliers of the East Room of the White House, it was a big night for twang and heartache.

The White House Summer Music series presented "A Country Music Celebration" with the bluegrass-rooted singer and fiddler Alison Krauss, the songwriter and guitarist Brad Paisley and the country singer Charley Pride, all members of the Grand Ole Opry.

"I know folks think I'm a city boy, but I do appreciate listening to country music," President Obama said as he introduced the concert. "It's about folks telling their life story the best way they know how."

The program was Web cast at and videotaped for the Great American Country television network. It was by no means the first country performance at the White House, said the M.C., the Nashville radio patriarch Eddie Stubbs. That was by the Coon Creek Girls, for Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939.

The concert was organized quickly; performers said they had been invited within the last few weeks. It was part of a series that began in June with a jazz event and will continue with a classical music program in the fall. Mr. Paisley, whose new album "American Saturday Night" is currently No. 1 on Billboard's country chart, said the lineup reflected the "different worlds" of country.

"They grabbed the contemporary popular chart," he said, referring to himself. "They grabbed the artistic bluegrass side," he continued, referring to Ms. Krauss. "And then they grabbed the legend side": Mr. Pride, country's most successful African-American performer, has had more than three dozen No. 1 country singles since the mid-1960s.

Mr. Paisley performed the title song of "American Saturday Night," about the United States as a melting pot, and "Welcome to the Future," which has a verse about race relations that starts with the recollection of a burning cross and concludes, "From a woman on a bus to a man with a dream/Hey, wake up Martin Luther."

He wrote it, Mr. Paisley said before the concert, after the 2008 election, when he was in New York City on election night and saw jubilation in Times Square. "It just felt like the world had shifted on a dime," he said. "I wanted to encompass this big theme of how far we've come in a song."

He added, "The dream of a songwriter is to write some account of a current event like that, and then deliver it for the person that's responsible for the current event."

On stage, Mr. Paisley also dedicated his "I Thought I Loved You Then" to the president and first lady, suggesting they play it on a romantic night on Air Force One.

Mr. Paisley and Ms. Krauss sang their hit duet, "Whiskey Lullaby," a ballad about heartbreak and alcoholism.

There were more lovelorn songs from Ms. Krauss and Union Station, her string band, including the sad, eerie "Ghost in This House." Her guitarist, Dan Tyminski, took over lead vocals for "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow." Mr. Pride, backed by Mr. Paisley's band and harking back to older honky-tonk and western swing, brought out the heartache behind "Is Anybody Going to San Antone" and "Mountain of Love."

Mr. Pride has taken pains throughout his career to set aside racial considerations, describing himself as "an American singing American music." He had performed for Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

"It's always an honor," Mr. Pride said.

Before the concert, he called President Obama "a very blessed man and a brilliant mind," and saw a parallel between their careers. "There's a similarity in what he has done and what I went through," he said. He added that in his long career on the country circuit, there had "never been a hoot" or a racial epithet from his audiences.

In the afternoon, Ms. Krauss and Mr. Paisley spoke to about 120 young musicians, mostly high school students from Virginia and Tennessee. Mr. Paisley performed his "Letter to Me," written from his adult self to his high-school one.

The students asked about the process of songwriting, about stage fright, about winning awards and about being famous. "You can't go out without a shower any more," Ms. Krauss allowed.

During her set, Ms. Krauss glanced nervously in the direction of the Obama family and said, "I can't look down there." But earlier she had been gleeful about performing where bluegrass pioneers like Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley had appeared years ago. "Something's going right if there's a banjo in the White House," she said.

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Subject: RE: Yeehaw! A lil' country in the white hous
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 02:22 AM

..."There's a similarity in what he has done and what I went through" ....

yes, well ...

why the hell wasn't Emmylou there ?

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Subject: RE: Yeehaw! A lil' country in the white house
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 12:41 PM

Maybe she was up at PeterT's?:-)

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Subject: RE: Yeehaw! A lil' country in the white house
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 03:18 PM

"Something's going right if there's a banjo in the White House," she said.

I am permanently in love with that lady.


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