President Obama Welcomes Guests to "In Performance at the White House: Country Music"


Uploaded by whitehouse on 21.11.2011

Transcript:
(applause)
The President: Everybody, please have a seat.
Thank you so much.
Well, good evening, everybody.
Audience: Good evening.
The President: I have been on the road a lot lately -- I know the
entertainers who are here tonight can relate.
Johnny Cash was really singing our song when he said,
"I've been everywhere, man."
(laughter)
So I appreciate all of you coming out for the best
welcome-home party that I've had in a long time.
I even see some members of my Cabinet and members of Congress
in the house.
Michelle and I are delighted that all of you are here for the
seventh in a series of evenings we've hosted here at the White
House to celebrate the music that has helped
to shape our nation.
Over the past couple of years, some of the greatest artists
from Motown, from jazz, classical,
Broadway have honored us with their performances.
We've celebrated Latin rhythms and the music that helped define
the Civil Rights Movement.
And tonight, we're transforming the East Room into a bona fide
country music hall.
(applause)
As Charley Pride, who played here two years ago,
once said: "There is enough room in country music for everybody."
And over the past five years, I've had the extraordinary
opportunity to travel all across America.
I've hopped on planes to big cities.
I've ridden buses through small towns.
And along the way, I've gained an appreciation for just how
much country music means to so many Americans.
Tonight, we're thrilled to welcome a couple of generations
of music stars, some of whom have been singing stories of
life in America since before our younger guests were born --
before I was born.
Artists like James Taylor, Lyle Lovett and --
(applause)
-- and Kris Kristofferson.
(applause)
These are among the greats that helped carry country music from
regional radio to national popularity.
Today, artists like Mickey and Lauren Alaina,
The Band Perry and Dierks Bentley aren't just topping
the charts, they're taking country worldwide.
I am so pleased to welcome back to the White House one of the
enduring voices of country music, Alison Krauss.
I love her.
(applause)
And we have Hootie in the house.
(laughter)
Darius Rucker is now one of the best-loved country stars around.
(applause)
I also want to thank Kris, Lyle and Darius for joining Michelle
this afternoon to lead a workshop on the history of
country music for young musicians.
It is a proud history that runs from barn stomping to the great
honky tonks to the big stage to the GRAMMYs.
It's a unique history that ties together many threads of our
immigrant heritage -- like the Irish fiddle,
the German dulcimer, the Italian mandolin,
the Spanish guitar and the West African banjo -- into music that
is truly Made in America.
And at its most pure, that's what country music is all about
-- life in America.
It's about storytelling -- giving voice to the emotions
of everyday life.
Brad Paisley put it simply: "This is real,
this is your life in a song.
This is country music."
Country music can be about love.
It can be about heartache.
It can sing sad times, or it can yell out that I'm just here
having a good time.
And it can remind us, especially when lots of our friends and
neighbors are going through tough times,
of what we've got to fight for and who we have to be.
It reminds us that this is America.
This is the place where you can make it if you try.
And there is a pretty good Brooks and Dunn song about that.
I recommend it.
(laughter)
So as we look forward to celebrating this holiday season,
let's take the time to appreciate the things that
matter most in our lives: country, family and community.
And let's kick it off by giving thanks for a evening
of down-home country music.
Have fun and enjoy the evening.
(applause)