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Question of the day

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Southern

Most of the grandstand music lineup for the 2019 Du Quoin State Fair was announced Monday morning.

Here’s what we know so far: […]

Tuesday, Aug. 27: Confederate Railroad, Shenandoah and Restless Heart. Confederate Railroad has been a hit-making force in Southern rock since the 1990s, with two releases going platinum in the ’90s.

A band named Confederate Railroad. In Illinois. The Land of Lincoln. Playing at a state-owned facility.

I’ve never heard anyone claim that the group has Confederacy-loving song lyrics or anything (although there is this). It’s just… well… Allow me to turn this one over to you…

* The Question: Appropriate or not? Don’t forget to explain your answer.

…Adding… As pointed out by a commenter, the group’s latest album features Confederate flags on the cover.


  1. - Colin O'Scopy - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:41 pm:

    As a northerner whose great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, I don’t see an issue with their playing the DuQuoin Fair.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd still plays “Sweet Home Alabama” a redneck anthem if there ever was one. Unless they espouse racist rhetoric, what’s the harm. Don’t Southern Illinoisans feel an affinity to the South more than the North?

  2. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:47 pm:

    If they have a good track record why not. Name will probably have to be changed sooner or later though. Lake county is trying to stop the 24 year run of Civil War enactors because of Confederate Flag and bad memories.

  3. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    I’ll go with appropriate, with the caveat that, despite maybe not knowing history, whoever booked them knows their audience. Quite a few Southern Illinoisans identify more with the south than with the union. It’s sad, pathetic and kind of scary. But you can’t argue that a misplaced fondness for the Confederacy is not present in large parts of rural Illinois (and all over America).

  4. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    Cancel it.

    Their latest album features the Confederate flag on the cover.

  5. - Wensicia - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    It’s a band, not a Confederate statue. Let them play.

  6. - Perrid - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    Colin, I think there is more to being a southern redneck than the Confederacy. I’ve never thought of the Confederacy when listening to “Sweet Home Alabama”.

    To the post,I’m OK with it. I know nothing about the band, but Google found me this, Danny Shirley talking about the name (from ) :
    “He doesn’t see the word as synonymous with rednecks or Klansmen or bigotry or hatred. He sees it as a banner worn by people who are merely proud to be Southerners.

    ‘We were raised that you think for yourself, that you be your own person. And nowadays we’re taught that that’s wrong. You’re taught that if you don’t think like everyone else, you’re wrong.’”

    I don’t mind what they call themselves or how they choose to see the word Confederate, even if I disagree with their interpretation.

  7. - todays hits yesterdays favorites - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    Inappropriate. Sad we have to go to Klan meetings to recruit bands to come to the DQ State fair. Won’t be long until they are uninvited. That will leave three full nights with no determined grandstand entertainment.
    DuQuoin is less than 4 hours from Nashville and we can’t find anything better? Listen to the Highway on Sirius on Saturday and you’ll find 15 artists people have heard of (with songs on the radio) that are hungry to play for a crowd.

  8. - Todd - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    its closer to Nashville, than Chicago

  9. - Colin O'Scopy - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    =Colin, I think there is more to being a southern redneck than the Confederacy.=

    You may be right, but to me, it’s a short walk.

  10. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    ===I’ve never thought of the Confederacy when listening to “Sweet Home Alabama”===

    Sweet Home Alabama was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s response to CSN’s Southern Man. If you listen to Southern Man, it may not evoke the Confederacy per se, but it sure doesn’t speak well of Jim Crow.

  11. - Boone's is Back - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    It would be one thing if it was a private event. I think it’s inappropriate for a state fair.

  12. - Bruce( no not him) - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    Everybody is offended by something.

  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:03 pm:

    ===Lynyrd Skynyrd’s response to CSN’s Southern Man===

    And to Neil Young’s Alabama.

    I’m from a new land
    I come to you
    And see all this ruin
    What are you doing Alabama?
    You got the rest of the union
    To help you along
    What’s going wrong?

  14. - chi - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:04 pm:

    The Confederate flag is a racist, traitorous symbol and the Confederacy was a racist, traitorous entity. Nothing espousing its beliefs or its symbolism should be promoted or performing anywhere in the country, let alone the Land of Lincoln.

  15. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    I wouldn’t have booked them in the first place, but admit now that it’s done I’m torn about it but leaning toward cancellation. With that recent album cover and their history of playing with artists like David Allan Coe, who absolutely released racist material, I would want to disassociate the state from it. They are free to put on their own show. I see no problem with Sweet Home Alabama, however, and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is a classic that is still often covered.

  16. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:10 pm:

    Context matters. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is obviously a great song and written completely from the perspective of a Confederate soldier. Sweet Home Alabama is basically an apology for George Wallace and obviously pretty racist. It depends on the band’s lyrics and what message they are trying to convey.

  17. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    As an aside it strikes me as an odd name anyway. History buffs will tell you that the railroad system in the Confederacy was woefully inadequate both in track mileage and in operation to transport troops and supplies, and was one of the many reasons they lost.

  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    I thought they still had KLAN meeting south of Springfield…..No

  19. - Phenomynous - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:16 pm:


    If we are going to ride the offended/victim railroad then a lot of people could complain about Snoop and Friends actual lyrical/personal/political/criminal record.

    This coming from someone who will most certainly go see Snoop and Friends at the State Fair, and who had to google who Confederate Railroad was.

  20. - YouHavetoWonder - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    No wonder there are petitions to dump Chicago. Most of you never heard of the band and couldn’t find DuQuoin without google, yet here you are telling others what is appropriate.

  21. - Proud Papa Bear - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    I’m pretty far left and I’ve got some Confederate Railroad songs on my playlist.

    I don’t think it was the best choice for a band name, but they’re pretty late in their careers to make a change as most know them from their ’90s hits.

    I’d take them any day over Ted Nugent, who we’re stuck with up here in “light red” McHenry County.

  22. - anonymouse - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    Great country band. Been around for 25 years.

  23. - IllinoisBoi - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:23 pm:

    The display of the Confederate flag on their album is troubling and distasteful, but as long as their songs don’t have a racist message,and the stage isn’t bedecked with the Stars and Bars,I think they should be allowed to play. Not that I’m going to ever hear them anyhow.

  24. - 618True Blue - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    Eastern Block seal of approval

  25. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    Real Progressive booking.

  26. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:32 pm:

    Confederate flag. aw heck no

  27. - Captain Obvious - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:39 pm:

    Sweet Home was a satirical response to Southern Man. The satire impaired are always the last to know. If you are offended by Confederate Railroad you need to get a life. Don’t like their album cover? Don’t listen. And skip their concert.

  28. - El Conquistador - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:47 pm:

    Appropriate for down there. The area’s chock full of right wing secessionists.

  29. - SAP - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:52 pm:

    Inappropriate and embarrassing.

  30. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:53 pm:

    @Captain Obvious -

    There is nothing satirical about Sweet Home Alabama. It was a defiant response to Southern Man and celebration of Jim Crow South. Those who came later have concocted a revisionist history to salve their guilt for liking the song. It is great rock n roll. It also celebrates racism. Unless you were celebrating racism when you fell in love with it, there is no reason to feel guilty. If you still love the song now that you really know what it’s about, that’s on you.

    Like Confederate Railroad, The Black Crowes also hail from Marietta, GA. Lead singer Chris Robinson said “We’ve tried to stay away from Southern connotations. It’s bulls— — I’ve never had a Confederate flag.” So no, it’s not about “culture.” Martin Luther King Jr. is also from Georgia. It’s about which culture you choose to embrace.

    Confederate Railroad embraces the Rebel Flag. Full stop.

  31. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:56 pm:

    Students at SIU-C are probably giddy with excitement…

  32. - RuralJewel - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 4:57 pm:

    Appropriate. The band takes great care to distance themselves from racism and acknowledge that the confederate flag and the band’s name is a controversial part of history and the issues our nation faces today. Sure they play a song about hating rap music, but who cares? Saying you hate rap isn’t the same as inciting violence against a race. I detest most indian food but it doesn’t make me a xenophobe. This band has been around a long time in southern rock and they’ve faced these concerns before. Some county fairs have chosen not to book them for this reason, but they have always been diplomatic and upfront about their music and philosophy on southern rock and its complicated roots. They cancelled R. Kelly at the State Fair because of “security concerns”, so if enough people are upset it can be done. Heck they let Jethro Tull get on stage at state fairs all the time and sing Aqualung, a song about a homeless guy who creepily watches little girls in a park. Tomato tomahto to me.

  33. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:05 pm:

    ===The Black Crowes also hail from Marietta, GA.===

    I guess Lynyrd Skynurd didn’t get the memo about it being satire: “We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two,” said Ronnie Van Zant at the time.

    Look, if this band can sell enough tickets to pack the grandstand, more power to ‘em. The more money the locals spend at DuQuoin, the lower our subsidy for this redundant event.

  34. - Ginhouse Tommy - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:12 pm:

    Let them play. BTW The Night the drove old Dixie down was written by a Canadian for the drummer in their band Levon Helm.

  35. - efudd - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:21 pm:

    The Confederate flag used on their albums, going back twenty or more years and one I own, is part of their identity, good or bad. I’m sure it was for marketing, which back then wasn’t near as confidential. Some of their songs are good and pretty self-deprecating.
    Sadly, you see a lot of pick ups down here with confederate flag stickers on them. Most drivers obviously ignorant of anything Civil War related.


    Listen, genius, if it wasn’t for Chicago, there would be no funds for the second state fair, thereby no Confederate Railroad discussion.

    That thing above your head is more than an ear spacer.

  36. - efudd - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:22 pm:

    Controversial, not confidential.

  37. - Nanook - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:22 pm:

    They are playing in the old “copper head” section of the state. Appropriate.

  38. - LINK - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:23 pm:


    After writing, editing, rewriting, editing and going back to see posts since I started developing my comment, I probably should stay out of this mess but for Over the past 50 years I’ve been to and even worked rock, country and progressive country bands/acts. I’ve seen the San Antonio Vice Squad threaten a Rolling Stones concert I was working because of an inflatable phallic symbol that appeared on stage during one of their songs…it starts with “Star…….”

    I’ve witnessed BB King quiet a crowd down when the Stones were four hours late. Not with throwing stones (no pun intended) or castigating someone due to their imagery but calm, reasonableness and humor.

    In other words, I’ve been to concerts where all sorts of bad behavior was preached, projected and carried on without interruption, even here in Springfield.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is what happened to tolerance? I will say this post got me to at least read Wikipedia on the flags history but even after reading that I guess I’m just more accepting. For even though I was born and raised in central Illinois my families roots go all the way to Massac County and I was use to seeing the flag in dorm rooms and the like at the U of I in Champaign and NEVER viewed myself anywhere near racist. And while it’s origin comes from a battle flag, it’s too bad it was co-opted by the Klan and other hate mongers when I just felt it was a display to demonstrate one’s southern roots AND NOT to preach racist beliefs…but I’ve been married several times too so I guess I will believe most anything.

    PS. I like RuralJewel’s response among several others…

  39. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:29 pm:

    Wikipedia isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

  40. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:31 pm:

    Not. The “Confederate Flag” is actually the Confederate Battle Flag. And we know how racially enlightened the Army of Northern Virginia was. /s

  41. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:32 pm:

    As a frequent visitor to DuQuoin i would tell ya’ll ‘dont fret’. Gets about as many
    Visitors as there are GOP state reps in Illinois.

  42. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:47 pm:

    @47th Ward -

    You know what you don’t see? Any contemporaneous quotes from Lynyrd Skynyrd suggesting that the songs lyrics have any meaning beyond their plain reading. You know what you do see? Lynyrd Skynyrd performing in front of a 30 foot High Confederate Flag when they toured.

    I appreciate Neil Young’s admission that his lyrics in “Alabama” were heavy-handed. I agree they lack the subtlety of Bob Dylan’s brilliant critiques in “Only a Pawn in Their Game” and “God on Our Side.”

    Confederate Railroad is not Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the year is not 1973. Whatever the Confederate Flag might have meant to Van Zant back then, we know what it means now. NASCAR has banned it for Pete’s sake.

    Sherman’s March through Georgia began in Marietta, which was a vital link in…you guessed it….the Confederate Railroad. I don’t expect any bands named for General Sherman will be playing at the Georgia state fair this summer.

  43. - Distant watcher - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 5:52 pm:

    Would they book the Sex Pistols if they were touring? Purely academic as long as Steve and John aren’t speaking, but there’s a long list of bands with shocking names.

  44. - Abe's favorite tune... - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 6:03 pm:

    …was “Dixie”. Though you could argue he requested it as a gesture of rapprochement to the estranged states and their culture.

    I’d say let the band play, as long as their stage decor and the like don’t feature that flag. Lord knows, there will be enough rustics in the audience already wearing it.

    Since Megadeth is cancelled, maybe we can get The Dixie Chicks.

  45. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 6:07 pm:

    ===The more money the locals spend at DuQuoin, the lower our subsidy===

    The fair recently nixed the entry fee to the fairgrounds.

  46. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 6:10 pm:

    TP, I was trying to agree with your previous comment. I deleted part of my comment and neglected to be sure I added back before I hit “say it.”

  47. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 6:25 pm:

    That anyone would think that “Confederate Railroad” is an acceptable name is indicative of the failure of our educational system:

  48. - Barnaby Wilde - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 6:32 pm:

    In 2019, Confederate Railroad keeping those flags on their cute cartoon locomotive isn’t a dog whistle, it’s a steam whistle. Like our Missouri cousins the Bottle Rockets say, “it’s a red, white and blue flag, but it ain’t ours.” Not a huge deal, but I wish they hadn’t been booked.

  49. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 6:49 pm:

    Not appropriate. Same as snoopy dog at the state fair.

  50. - Joe M - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 7:00 pm:

    let them play at Du Quoin - only if they agree to do a free follow-up concert at a park in the South Side of Chicago as part of sensitivity training.

  51. - Whizbang - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 8:03 pm:

    I think back many years ago when I went to SIUC. A professor in a prelate class welcomed us to Southern Illinois. That it might be a shock to those from Chicago. They were now south of Richmond and less than four hours to Memphis. Yes they were still in Illinois but…..

  52. - Whizbang - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 8:03 pm:


  53. - don the legend - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 9:11 pm:

    I’m in my early 60s. Jeez. Snoop Dog, Confederate Railroad, Sex Pistols, Boy George, Ted Nugent, Neil Young. They are all still touring and playing music. Music for gosh sake.

  54. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 9:37 pm:

    Captain Obvious -

    The satire must have been lost on George Wallace, who loved the song, the band, and made them honorary honorary Lt. Colonels of the Alabama Militia.

    Moreover, as reported by Rolling Stone magazine, interviews with Van Zant pals say he was an unabashed George Wallace fan.

    Listening to folks argue that the band that performed for decades in front of a giant Confederate Flag in front of fans who thought they were celebrating a segregated south was really some sort of inside joke is like listening to folks argue that the Civil War really wasn’t about slavery, it was about state’s rights (to have slaves).

    Keep telling yourself that it’s really a song about Southern Pride (to be racist) if you like.

  55. - Cadillac - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 9:37 pm:


    Many victims heard from…..

  56. - Dutch 3001 - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 11:02 pm:

    I am bothered by some of the comments on this thread that people in southern Illinois identify more with the South rather than the North. Really? Name one. Just one person by name. I have lived in deep southern Illinois for 30 years and have never heard anyone say they identify with Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, etc., more than the state they live in. In the last 20 years I have seen one—just one—doofus flying a Confederate battle flag in his yard. And, FYI, check the 2018-2019 tour venues for Confederate Railroad where they play in such southern states as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and—oh yeah—that hotbed of racism named San Francisco.Look, if they fly a Confederate flag at their concerts, ban them from playing at Duquoin. But I doubt they do. Have you seen any recent pictures of these guys? Most of them (like me) are now in their 60s most likely now spend their time eating at Applebee’s and watching HGTV rather than raising hell and waving Confederate flags. Again, if you have proof they fly that flag at their concerts, ban them. And get off the back of southern Illinois as being the only place in Illinois where people are ignorant enough to watch a band like this.

  57. - Hottot - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 6:04 am:

    My 4th great grandfather was a Civil War captain from Franklin county. They’re a band, trying to make money. I used to listen to them back in the 0s and early 2000s. Their lyrics aren’t racist, nor do they envoke racism in their videos. I wont defend the Confederate flag, but I think to call them racist is a little extreme. The word “confederate” also means “accomplice. If you dont want to see them, dont buy a ticket.

  58. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 9:41 am:

    @Hottot -

    The Confederate Flag is on their latest album cover, as Rich points out.

    I am not saying that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of white supremacy. White supremacists are saying that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of white supremacy.

  59. - ANon34 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    Let them play. But make sure “Sherman Neck Ties” is the band that follows them on stage (I doubt that’s a band…but it probably should be).

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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