Monday night (Nov. 21), country music was ringing through the halls of the White House, as the Obamas welcomed a group of musicians for the In Performance at the White House: Country Music gathering.
Among the performers were Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, The Band Perry, Lauren Alaina and James Taylor. Photos below.
Before the concert, Lovett, Rucker and Bentley came out to the front steps to talk about country music and national politics. Quotes below, courtesy of the Washington Post. The concert airs Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS.
Lyle Lovett on country music’s expanding 21st century palette: “In this age of hyper-technology… the days of someone growing up out in the country and being exposed to one type, one particular type of anything are over… We live in an age where we’re able to experience influences from just all around.”
Lovett on why playing at the Clinton, second Bush and now Obama White Houses is a bipartisan gesture: “Our president is our president and I think it’s always important to support our president… I’ve never campaigned for a candidate but I’m always excited to support the people that run our country.”
Dierks Bentley on why we should support our returning veterans: “Now is the time that these guys are coming back, you know, with health problems and obviously they’re trying to put their families back together. And the economy’s crap. Now is the time to really show your patriotism, your support, and do something… It’s more than just a yellow ribbon… How do we incorporate these folks back into our society, into our economy, so they can have productive lives?”
Darius Rucker on what it means to be a black star in contemporary country: “It means to me that they’re listening to the music, you know, and not worrying about anything else. And that’s a great thing to see. Country is getting more diverse and opening its doors and growing… It’s the new rock-and-roll, really.”
On why Rucker won’t be stumping for anyone on the campaign trail next year: “I don’t campaign for anybody, man. I don’t do that stuff… Don’t vote for somebody because I did. Vote for somebody because you studied the candidates and figured out that’s the candidate for you.”