Apologies for plugging a TNR story, but David Browne's piece about country music as it moves into the Obama era is great. I like to think I know a bit about the intersection of country music and politics, and yet I learned a lot of stuff from Brown's piece.
A couple quibbles: I think country was going pop well before 9/11, but I believe Browne's right that the terrorist attacks--and country music's attempt to reach out to "swing voters"--certainly accelerated the trend. Also, I'm not sure the picture is quite as bleak as Browne paints it. I'd argue that there are some popular country acts right now--like Alan Jackson and even Toby Keith--who are doing good work, although Keith's is of a somewhat comedic variety.
Still, it's a great piece. And if Obama's election heralds some sort of change in the music coming out of Nashville, well, that's definitely something I can believe in.