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Foreign Policy Analysis
President Obama Celebrates Country Music

President Obama Celebrates Country Music


(applause) The President:
Welcome to the White House. Tonight marks the
second in a series of — that we are using to celebrate
the music that’s contributed to the life of this nation and
chronicled the history of our people. We began this tradition last
month with an evening of jazz and tonight we celebrate another
uniquely American art form — country music. We are thrilled and honored to
be joined by three of country music’s biggest acts — three of music’s biggest acts, period — Alison Krauss and Union Station,
Brad Paisley, and Charley Pride. And I want to thank — (cheering and applause) — and I want to thank and applaud Alison and Brad for taking some time earlier today to lead a country music workshop here at the White House for
the next generation of young musicians. Now, I know folks
think I’m a city boy — (laughter) — but I do appreciate listening to country music because like all Americans I appreciate the
broad and indelible impact that country has had on our nation. It’s touched countless lives,
it’s influenced all genres of music, it’s helped us make the
American people more hopeful, it’s captured our restlessness
and resilience and told so much of our story in the process. After all, that’s what
country music is all about — storytelling. It’s about folks telling their
life story the best way they know how; stories of love and
longing, hope and heartbreak, pride and pain; stories that
help us celebrate the good times and get over the bad
times; stories that are quintessentially American. After all, name me any other
country that would have produced a Hank Williams or
a Willie Nelson. (laughter) And like all great art, a
great country song also has a commitment to truth — to telling the truth like it is, without pulling any punches. And generations of performers
have honored that commitment. Harlan Howard proclaimed country
music “three chords and the truth.” (laughter) Garth Brooks said it’s
“honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt.” And Dierks Bentley called it
“the best shrink that 15 bucks can buy.” (laughter) So to all those watching,
either here or at home, here’s a free session with some
of the best storytellers and truth-sellers around. We hope that you have a
wonderful time this evening. Thank you; enjoy. (applause)

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