Country band Confederate Railroad says it won’t change its name
Confederate Railroad has lost out on two gigs over its name and logo, but the country rock band is moving full steam ahead.
“I am who I am. We will keep doing what we do. The name of my band ain’t gonna change,” frontman Danny Shirley said in a statement.
The Georgia band was scheduled to perform Thursday at the Ulster County Fair in upstate New York. But a week before, fair officials canceled the appearance over the group’s name and logo, which features a steam locomotive flying two Confederate flags.
“The Ulster County Fair must be an event that everyone can enjoy while representing the values of all members of our community,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said in a statement. “Any showcasing of a symbol of division and racism runs counter to that principle and will be vigorously opposed by my administration.”
Critics say the Confederate flag is a racist symbol that represents a war to uphold slavery and, later, efforts against civil rights advances. Before the decision by Ulster County officials, a petition on Change.org demanded that Confederate Railroad’s performance be canceled, saying that symbols associated with the band were “traumutizing to many people especially people of color.”
Illinois canceled a state fair appearance by Confederate Railroad, scheduled for August 27, for similar reasons.
“I’ve been performing for more than 43 years and, hell, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Shirley said.
The band said in a statement on its website that it was disappointed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s decision to cancel its performance but that the group had seen an outpouring of support from fans and other country music acts.
At the Ulster County Fair on Thursday, Raymond Minew, lead singer of the country band 90 Proof, unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a T-shirt with Confederate Railroad’s logo on the front, the Hudson Valley Post reported. The back of the shirt read “90 PROOF SUPPORTS CONFEDERATE RAILROAD.”
“Look, if you don’t want to come see us, that’s your choice. We’re listening to you. You’ll just miss out on a damn good time,” Shirley said.
Confederate Railroad was started in 1987 by Shirley, Michael Lamb, Gates Nichols, Chris McDaniel, Wayne Secrest and Mark Dufresne. They have released seven studio albums and singles such as “Jesus and Mama,” “Queen of Memphis” and “Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind.”