Four decades after he wrote “God Bless the USA,” Lee Greenwood stood his ground against Maren Morris’ complaints about country music’s hyper-masculinity.
Grammy-winning superstar Maren Morris recently said she aims to leave country music behind, and one of the genre’s oldest stalwarts is taking issue with her reasoning.
Morris sat down for a Q&A with the Los Angeles Times in September to discuss her career and her thoughts on the state of country music. In the interview, Morris talked about the long-lasting effects of the Donald Trump era on the genre, as well as how some artists and listeners are trying to “own the libs” through music.
Between Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” shooting its music video at the site of a lynching, Morris’ own experiences with misogyny and the genre’s new place in the middle of a culture war since 2020, she said she feels distanced from the “hyper-masculine” so-called “butt rock.”
Lee Greenwood – whose 1984 song “God Bless the USA” has been used as an anthem by Republican politicians from Ronald Reagan to Trump himself – did not take too kindly to Morris’ remarks.
Greenwood published an op-ed on FOX News in October, accusing Morris of not understanding country music in the first place. The 81-year-old wrote up a rebuttal to Morris’ LA Times interview, as well as her appearance on The New York Times’ Popcast, where she echoed many of her same opinions and concerns.
“To suggest that country music is ‘too patriotic’ is to not understand country music at all,” Greenwood wrote. “It’s in our very name: country music. Our music is written for love of our country, our heart for America.”
Beyond defending Aldean’s latest single, Greenwood also stated that country music has always worked in concert with contemporary politics and the viewpoints of both its artists and audience.
“For liberal artists to despise a genre of music due to its lyrics is to despise what is happening across America today,” Greenwood wrote. “Placing the blame on former President Donald Trump or any other political group is misguided, as it’s not that politics has infiltrated the music – it’s simply that music reflects what is happening in the country.”
Greenwood actually advised Morris to remain in the country music sphere, but he warned that her role in cancel culture would be detrimental to the genre, as well as the freedoms inherent in American society.
Morris has yet to comment on Greenwood’s op-ed or his other public remarks about her on FOX News.