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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 15:09 GMT
Singer Lee Jones attacks Bush
Rickie Lee Jones
Lee Jones's songs are usually introspectives of her own life
American singer Rickie Lee Jones has attacked the policies of the Bush administration on her latest record - despite the potential risk to her career.

Lee Jones took the music world by storm in the late 1970s when her self-titled debut album won best newcomer award at the Grammys.

But despite having vowed to stay away from politics, her latest album, The Evening Of My Best Day, features many political protest songs that directly criticise current US policy.

"To address George Bush and his presidency is a departure from my usual point of view," Lee Jones told BBC World Service's Everywoman programme.

"I usually reflect things totally internally. But I think what is happening in America is so disturbing to me, it becomes internal.

"You can't not address it."

'Ominous law'

Lee Jones is not the first singer to attack the Bush administration.

In March last year, Natalie Maines, a singer with country group Dixie Chicks, said she felt "ashamed" President Bush came from her home state of Texas.

The group subsequently suffered a backlash, with many radio stations in the US refusing to play their records.

But Lee Jones defended her right to speak out in her music about how she felt.

Dixie Chicks
Lee Jones said the Dixie Chicks were 'vilified' for speaking out
"I think a musician has no less of a right to speak out than anybody else," she said.

"If any American has a right to speak out - which surely they do - then why not a musician or an actor?

"Everybody has a right. As long as you're informed, courteous - relatively - you have a right to say what you think about it, with great passion."

The most overtly political record on the album is Tell Somebody (Repeal The Patriot Acts Now) - a reference to the controversial new anti-terrorist powers put in place after 11 September 2001.

Lee Jones said that she found the act "disturbing"

"The Patriot Act basically says, "Under the guise of protection against terrorism, we consider you a threat. We can arrest you, you Americans... wherever you are in the world, and you no longer have a right to counsel.

"'We don't have to tell you exactly what it is we think you did, and we can keep you as long as we want'.

"This is ominous - an ominous law - and I think it must be repealed. I don't think we can be so reactionary that we take the rights away from people in order to protect them. What's that about? I disagree totally."

'Vilified' Chicks

Lee Jones added that she was well aware of the reaction the Dixie Chicks had received.

However, she said that she was hopeful that it would make Americans more aware of their "right to say these things."

"They [the Dixie Chicks] were vilified actually," she stated.

"I think that that's what's most exciting, because I think the more they vilify people who dissent, the more Americans are going to rise up and say, 'hey, everybody has a right to their own point of view - you can't condemn somebody for their point of view'.

"In the long run, the Dixie Chicks got some credibility that they didn't have before.

"They might have lost some sales, but they gained a lot of friends."

Dixies dropped over Bush remark
20 Mar 03  |  Music
Ashcroft trumpets anti-terror laws
20 Aug 03  |  Americas

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