Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, John Prine and Left Politics in Country Music w/ Prof. Mark Allan Jackso‪n‬

In this episode, we talk about left politics in country music with Prof. Mark Allan Jackson. Country music has a huge popular following and has been closely associated with Republican and socially conservative political forces. Politicians like George Wallace, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan have all appealed to country’s fans to build their political bases. But country music has also had a populist left appeal as well. From Nashville to Bakersfield, CA, country musicians have espoused progressive political positions as well in lyrics and activism.

Listen in:

Scott and Bob, with Professor Jackson, look at the cultural and political importance of country music and the artists. We get into how Nixon’s southern strategy took Tricky Dick to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the outlaw politics of icons like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, the progressive politics of Dolly Parton, John Prine’s career, the political activism of contemporary artists like the Chicks and Garth Brook’s appeals for unity in today’s divided political atmosphere.

Mark Allan Jackson is a professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University.  He teaches courses on American Literature, Popular Culture, Folklore, and American Song. In 2007, He published Prophet Singer: The Voice and Vision of Woody Guthrie. He is the editor of and a contributor to the essay collection The Honky Tonk on the Left: Progressive Thought in Country Music (2018). In addition, he compiled, edited, and produced several CDs through West Virginia University Press, including Coal Digging Blues: Songs of West Virginia Miners.

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