Many country music artists are willing to make bold and/or controversial statements. Perhaps one of the most infamous of these outspoken moments is Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks expressing her disdain toward President Bush during a European concert more than a decade ago. However, many other artists speak out and share their innermost thoughts with the world, sometimes using the clothes on their backs (or heads), rather than shouting their viewpoints from the rooftops.
Whether it has been to support controversy, has incidentally started controversy, pokes fun at controversy, or shows a sense of indifference as to what controversy may begin, country artists have been known to put their money where their mouths are, and have also on occasion asked you to do the same. Country Music’s #CMchat refers to the artists using their clothing for billboards as “fashion statements,” and we have compiled some of our favorites in this edition of 7 Quick Clicks.
Thank you to Nicole Piering for her help “shopping” for artists to feature!
(In alphabetical order by first name)
1. Brad Paisley
As sure as a guy walked into a bar, Brad Paisley walked into a Starbucks as unsuspecting as a “Celebrity” can be, and incidentally ended up offending an employee. Without putting much thought behind his wardrobe for the day, Paisley was out and about in the South, clad in a shirt with a confederate flag on the front. Paisley responded to the issue the best way a singer-songwriter knows how — through a little ditty named “Accidental Racist.” Teaming up with LL Cool J, Paisley told the story to a melody and controversy ensued. The moral of the story is twofold: 1) don’t pick a fight with a snarky songwriter and 2) give yourself a once over before you head to the upperscale coffee chain.
2. Brandy Clark
When Brandy Clark was nominated for Grammy Awards, the question heard around the globe was “WHO THE F*** IS BRANDY CLARK?!” While the ignoramuses of the world might not have known who Clark was, the Academy did, and it rightfully recognized her artistry and her album 12 Stories. In response to the battle cries of angry individuals, Clark did what any creative person would do. She sold these shirts to her fans on her website and made a bundle … literally and figuratively.
3. Dixie Chicks
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks put her foot in her mouth overseas and has never truly lived it down. On top of death threats and constant mandates to “shut up and sing,” a fellow country artist, who has built a career around his patriotic tunes, spoke up about his dissatisfaction with Maines. Big Dog Daddy himself, Toby Keith, voiced his disapproval of Maines’ behavior, and, in response, Maines took the advice of haters and shut up and sang … all while wearing a “F.U.T.K.” shirt. We’ll let you draw a conclusion regarding what that means.
4. Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves is known for taking a spin on the merry-go-round and for following her arrow wherever it points, and where it often points is against the grain. Her most recent single, “Biscuits,” relays a message that Musgraves has made clear she supports since the beginning of her career, and that is to quite simply mind your own business and stay out of others’. To promote the track, Musgraves sports a “Biscuits” shirt that is the definition of double entendre. Not only is she telling you to mind your P’s and Q’s, but she is doing so with the word displayed smack across her chest. Again, we’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to her second message.
5. Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson has received a lot of criticism (as well as support) lately regarding her weight. However, this is not the first time Clarkson has had to turn her head to such negative and potentially hurtful comments. In fact, since she hit the scene after her American Idol win in 2002, Kelly has often battled those who have nothing better to do than discuss her body. At some point you have to realize that your words in defense are simply wastes of breath because the close-minded people they are aimed at don’t care to hear them. Kelly took note and tested another sense, screaming through a shirt that what you see is, most certainly, what you get.
6. Little Big Town
The most recent controversy in country music belongs to ACM Vocal Group of the Year, Little Big Town, and its hit single “Girl Crush.” The misunderstood song was allegedly yanked from radio stations due to its lyrics, which caused country music stars and fans to rally around the foursome and show their support for the gorgeously delivered, far from controversial tune. Little Big Town and its team obviously saw quite the opportunity in the very vocal outpouring of love for the beautiful ballad and, suddenly, $30.00 trucker hats that merely state “Girl Crush” across the front appeared on the group’s website. The very public debacle lead to two outcomes: 1) a Number 1 song for Little Big Town and 2) an increase in merch sales.
7. Taylor Swift
Once upon a time little Taylor Swift was just like you and me. Alright, let’s face it. She was never just like you and me, but she was a kid living under the radar and attending public school. Fast forward to her world domination and a certain picture of her resurfaced on Tumblr; however, it supposedly wasn’t her, but, rather, a young girl named “Becky” who passed away from drug use. When fans contradicted the Tumblr post and the owner responded with “no its becky,” Swifties were enraged. Then, the unthinkable happened. THE Taylor Swift “liked” the post and made a public appearance sporting a “no its becky” shirt. AEDs were on hand for Swift fans around the world. So the next time you think you spot Taylor on the streets of Nashville, think again. Because, no. It’s Becky.
BONUS: Kellie Pickler’s United States Organizations (“USO”) shirts
Kellie Pickler recently launched a line of home goods at the Grand Ole Opry. Included with her special, personal pieces are also four t-shirts (men’s and women’s), each representative of and showing support for the four branches of the United States military. Proceeds will go to Wounded Warriors, a project Pickler holds near and dear to her heart. For more information on these shirts and the Selma Drye goods, click here.
Featured Image Sketch Credit: sketchesfashions.com