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Country Music's 'Money Shot': The Boys at War

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In his provocative look at Country Music and the war, Jon Caramanica explores how "the image of the melancholy soldier has become country music's money shot."


June 22, 2004  |  Last month wasNational Military Appreciation Month, and in anticipation of the event, Orange, Calif., high school freshman Shauna Fleming decided she needed too do something. She settled, as eager, civic-minded teens sometimes do, on a letter-writing drive. The campaign, titled A Million Thanks, has to date collected almost 600,000 notes of encouragement and support for disbursement to American troops overseas and here at home.

Think of it as an Amnesty International movement for prisoners of politics, as opposed to political prisoners.

Fleming was inspired in part by a song and video that had just begun to grab attention, John Michael Montgomery's "Letters From Home." The song is No. 2 on the Billboard country music singles chart right now, and in heavy rotation on the two country music video stations, CMT and GAC. The lyrics document three letters to a soldier penned by people he's left behind: first, his warm-hearted mother, then his lonely girlfriend and, finally, his stoic father. The accompanying video culminates in what has emerged as a country music video money shot: the melancholy soldier.

You can read the full story at Salon.com after viewing a short ad:



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