Ask someone of a liberal political persuasion what they think about modern country music, and it's often a shrug you'll get in return.
Long gone are blue state-copacetic country heroes like Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash, and now that the Dixie Chicks are no longer a force, most Obama fans have no patience for anything out of Nashville. Members of the supposedly open-minded party tend to believe that the genre is completely saturated with odes to guns, trucks, whiskey, and American flags.
But that's just not the case! Mainstream country has become increasingly friendly to liberals, and these five artists are prime examples.
5. Brad Paisley
Sure, he's a good ol' boy with twang to spare, but Brad Paisley goes out of his way to push his core audience's buttons, preaching a message of anti-xenophobia and anti-racism. Sure, he can be absolutely ham-handed at times (see: "Accidental Racist") but he elsewhere preaches a melting pot ethos ("American Saturday Night") or achieving personal growth by exploring the world around you ("Southern Comfort Zone"). This is more worldliness than Toby Keith's "'Merica, 'Merica, 'Merica" shtick, and liberals will appreciate it. 4. Miranda Lambert
Texas spitfire Miranda Lambert isn't taking grief from any man. On songs like "Gunpowder and Lead" and "Kerosene" -- as well as on tracks like "Hell On Heels" from her side project Pistol Annies - she gives you fair warning not to fuck around. It's a type of no-holds barred feminism (and independence) that plays well among liberal arts college kids.
3. Zac Brown Band
First things first: Brown is known to tour with a giant mobile kitchen, on which his friend Rusty prepares meals for crew and fans made from largely local ingredients. He's also behind something called the Southern Ground Music and Food Festival, and his Grammy-winning band are known for their fiddle-fueled hoedowns. But whatever. We know we had you at "local." [page] 2. Eric Church
Eric Church smokes a lot of weed. He's got 420-friendly hits like "Smoke a Little Smoke" and "I'm Gettin' Stoned," as well as, you know, leaf-emblazoned shirts sold in his online store. Consider him a banjo-pickin', aviator-wearin' modern day Willie Nelson, another country dude liberals love. And when you've got someone with songs as catchy as Church's encouraging the blowing of trees, who's to say that Nashville can't become the next Colorado Springs? 1. Kacey Musgraves
Though she's a fresh face in country, 2014 Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves has already won over music critics the world 'round. It's no coincidence that she's pretty far left-leaning, despite dealing in country tropes. Her breakout single "Follow Your Arrow," like the rest of her album Same Trailer, Different Park, passes no judgment on her small town characters, whether they like to "kiss lots of boys / or kiss lots of girls / if that's something you're into" (not to mention those who get high). Plus, you know, Musgraves is fucking brilliant singer-songwriter. We hear liberals like that too.