President Obama transformed the East Room of the White House into “a bona fide country music hall” tonight, welcoming a variety of country music stars to perform in the latest installment of the White House performance series.
The president, who is known more for listening to Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, and the Rolling Stones, than Loretta Lynn, Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton, explained how he’s come to appreciate country music, which he described as “truly Made in America.”
“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,” he said.
The president, fresh off a nine-day trip through the Asia-Pacific region, joked that he’s been on the road so much lately he can relate to Johnny Cash who “was really singing our song when he said, ‘I’ve been everywhere, man.’”
“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,” the president said. “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 an evening of down-home country music.”