Sheryl Crow Takes Country Artists to Task for Not Speaking Out for Gun Control
Sheryl Crow wants to see her fellow artists -- specifically those in the country music genre -- take a stand for gun control. In a new interview, the singer-songwriter takes musicians to task for staying silent on the issue, especially in light of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas, Nev., in October.
“There’s no one that I know of in the popular country world that is willing to step out and really to take a stand on this, and that’s really unfortunate," Crow tells the Guardian. "I think it’s fear-based, this fear of losing your audience, this fear of p--sing off your audience."
Following the Route 91 shooting, which left more than 50 people dead and hundreds more injured, not everyone has been quiet: Rosanne Cash condemned country music's long-standing ties with the National Rifle Association (not the first time she's discussed the issue), and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have said that they're proponents of "common sense" gun regulations. The tragedy led Will Hoge to write a song about lawmakers' decisions to not take on the gun control issue, and caused Josh Abbott Band guitarist Caleb Keeter to reconsider his own stance on gun laws. However, Crow wants to see more, specifically from the larger names in the genre.
“You would think after Vegas we would see some leadership from our country community,” Crow says. “But all I can say about that is if there’s money involved, and fear, these conversations come to a screeching halt ...
"I hope there will be people who find a way out of their fear, who stick up for humanity," she adds, "as opposed to sticking with their fanbase or the money that can come along with having those large crowds.”
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Some have stood up against stricter gun laws, too: In the weeks following the Las Vegas shooting, Aaron Lewis was among those to say that he doesn't feel as though a change in gun laws would have stopped the tragedy from happening; in 2015, after a shooting in a Charleston, S.C., church, Toby Keith gave a similar opinion. However, gun control has long been a contentious topic in country music, and many have chosen not to discuss it -- or most political issues.
Crow, who admits that she felt a “real sense of helplessness” following Route 91, knows her stance for gun control "is very unpopular," but she "want[s] to see us do better," which is why she continues to speak out on the issue.
“As artists, I feel like we really have to show up in this, in all the areas that are hard for us," she notes. "We need to write songs that talk about these issues. We need to write songs about what’s happening in our communities -- the injustices, the people who feel left out ... Our fans need to know that we care about them.”
Crow says she knows that not everyone will agree with her. But rather than being met with silence or hatred, she's looking to spark a level-headed conversation.
“The emotional terrorism that is being wielded from the White House down has everyone so on edge," Crow says, "that it’s robbed us of our ability to have reasonable conversations, where we sit in a room and we’re able to discuss these very important topics with people we don’t necessarily agree with."
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