Steve Earle's blues: Censorship, politics, and authenticity in a post 9/11 song
Morgan, Jenee E.
MetadataShow full item record
The following paper explores a post 9/11 controversy surrounding "John Walker's Blues," a song by country music artist Steve Earle about John Walker Lindh, an American caught fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2001. By looking at the history of censorship, commercialism, and politics in American popular music, particularly country music, it is revealed that the country music industry is musically and lyrically conservative and traditional towards the songs it allows to be recorded or played over the radio. An analysis of "John Walker's Blues" is presented, showing how and why the song could be construed as controversial, pushing traditional boundaries established by the country music industry, and why it is an authentic work of art in its own right. By infusing elements of Islamic prayer and Qu'ranic chant, and using his own musical style, Steve Earle takes the country music listener outside of their comfort zone.