Why Are There So Many Country Songs About Soldiers
Country music has always reflected the more blue collar aspects of American life, so it should be no real surprise that there have been many country songs about soldiers. The overt sentimentality of much country music makes itthe natural vehicle for expressing feelings of missing loved ones. Equally, its frequent appeal to broad patriotism makes it a natural fit for singing about war.
Many of this type of song is overtly jingoistic, playing to the populist sensibilities of a mainstream crowd. Many other numbers make explicit reference to family, tosiblings or children. Others are very much concerned with being away from a romantic other.
Canadian artist Dean Brody wrote a popular songregarding brotherly military attachment with his number Brothers. Toby Keith, an extremely mainstream artist, typified the patriotic type of song with his 2003number American Soldier. John Michael Montgomeryaddressed the issue of attachment to family with his 2004 outing Letters From Home.
Not all singers unequivocally back the nations fightingmen and women though. There has always been a sizable part of the genre which takes more rebellious cues to inform its output. Some singers define part of their political stance by being opposed to war.
This does not mean that they do not respect fighting men.One artist who maintains a consistent line when it comes to matters of militarism and war is Steve Earle. His song Johnny Come Lately, recorded with London-Irish folk punk act The Pogues, is a song which deals with an American airman in London during World War Two. A touching and rousing story of the battle against Hitler, it also draws a sad political contrast between how World War Two veterans were treated and the reception their later counterparts in Vietnam received.
There have been many country songs about soldiers, and there will doubtless be many more. As a form of folkmusic, this genre will always look to reflect the hopes and fears of its audience. As long as people still get sent to away to fight, songs about it will be written and sung.