Merle Haggard: Down Every Road

In 1996, Capitol Records released a box set of country singer Merle Haggard’s music. After this review ran in Rolling Stone, a writer for a conservative newspaper, The Washington Times, took me to task for putting a liberal spin to the songs of a conservative artist. But as I wrote in this review — and I stand by it — seeing Haggard simply as a “conservative” doesn’t do him or his full body of work justice.

Ani DiFranco: Return of the Righteous Babe

Early on in what’s come to be slandered by the right as “cancel culture,” Ani DiFranco angered fans by planning an artist retreat at a former plantation. The irony was that DiFranco had spent her entire career as a stanch political ally, not just of Black Americans, but of all people of color, all gender identifications, the poor — basically, all people marginalized by the dominant culture. She survived the controversy with her fanbase intact.