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Patriotic songs - the new hip thing?

Country Standard Time Editorial, July 2002

Patriotism is not old-fashioned. It's the new, hip thing.

That's what Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn fame was quoted as having said. Now, chances are, of course, exceedingly strong that Dunn was not poking fun at those who do record patriotic songs.

After all, that would be like the pot calling the kettle black as B&D's catchy "Only in America" was part of the group of patriotic songs that surfaced after Sept. 11.

No doubt the best known was Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," a song that helped him capture three Academy of Country Music awards in May.

Others on the list include David Ball's "Riding With Private Malone," Charlie Daniels' "This Ain't No Rag, It's A Flag," Aaron Tippin's "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly," and most recently Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," an ode to his late father.

Not every song is going to be a career-type song as "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)." That's the type of song that causes listeners to give pause to the problems we faced as a people after the events of last summer. And kudos to the generally shy, soft-spoken Jackson for speaking so eloquently after winning his awards in dedicating the awards to the victims.

Others like Daniels and Hank Williams Jr. ("America Will Survive"), chose to give their message in an angry, defiant tone to the enemy.

No one has a hold on patriotism of course or how to demonstrate those feelings. Rest assured that Ronnie Dunn doesn't feel that way either.

Yet, all of the songs cited plus others dealing with the tragedy certainly speak to some segment of the American public and help us deal with our continuing sorrow.While the airwaves were flooded with feel good songs after Sept. 11, radio did not only hone in on patriotically-themed songs. And thankfully not every artist perceived a need to get to the recording studio to air his/her feelings because not all songs would have been top notch.

Fortunately, at least patriotic songs haven't become the "new, hip thing." That would make it far too easy to accuse country music of trying to take advantage of the situation.

But based on what has happened in the past nine months, you can rest assured patriotism isn't old fashioned either.