Lil Nas X, the man behind No. 1 hit “Old Town Road,” is featured on the cover of Time magazine (Aug. 26), while Tim McGraw and Jon Meacham teamed up to write an article that discusses country music’s role in politics and diversity.
Lil Nas X continues to break chart-topping records with his viral song that features Billy Ray Cyrus, hitting 19 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Tim and Jon recently joined forces to pen the new book, Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest and the Music That Made a Nation, which was released in June. According to the book description, “Jon and Tim take readers on a moving and insightful journey through eras in American history and the songs and performers that inspired us. Jon chronicles our history, exploring the stories behind the songs, and Tim reflects on them as an artist and performer.”
Below are a few excerpts from the Time articles.
- “I was doing radio tours, and one guy looked me in the eye and said, ‘I love the song, but I don’t think I’ll play it.’ The perception was that the audience wouldn’t accept an African-American singer.”
- “I know the people who listen to this the most, and they’re not accepting of homosexuality.”
- “Seeing digital numbers, it’s a good feeling. It goes so quickly, though. You have to keep going.”
- “Country is in the midst of a renewed debate over the nature of its sound and the related question of who counts as part of its club…. In some ways, these questions are not so different from the ones the broader nation is asking itself in the age of Trump…. The answer, much like the music itself, is more complicated than even its fans tend to realize.”
- “Things will always be changing in country music. That’s as it should be. We can embrace tradition, and we can embrace the more current sounds of the day—this is, after all, what our musical forebears did so brilliantly. At its heart, country is the music of inclusion and universality, and there must be an open door—and open ears and hearts—for artists who don’t look like Jimmie Rodgers or Hank Williams. Country is songs with stories for everyone, our life experience played out in 3½ minutes. Complexity is country’s friend, not its enemy, and more people need to realize that.”
Time magazine goes on sale on Aug. 16.
photograph by Kelia Anne/Time Magazine