A controversy is brewing in West Texas over the ban of Americana artist Kevin Deal’s new album, The Lawless, which was produced by Lloyd Maines, father of Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines.
Longtime Texas radio personality Paul Beane, who owns three radio stations in Levelland and Littlefield, including KLVT-FM, is refusing to play Deal’s album because of its association with Lloyd Maines.
On April 25th, the promotional copy of The Lawless was mailed back to Deal, unopened. It was accompanied by a letter from Beane that thanked Deal for his efforts, but informed him his radio stations would no longer “have ANY associations with a Lloyd Maines project of ANY type.” The reason Beane cites in his letter is Maines’ “bitter attack” on radio stations that refuse to play the Dixie Chicks because of remarks Natalie made in London about President Bush—that she was ashamed the President was from her home state of Texas. Meanwhile, Deal’s The Lawless is at #20 on the AMA chart and is in the top ten on several other roots/Americana charts.
“I have no problem with someone who doesn’t like my music,” said Deal, at home in Texas. “Of course, I wish they’d like it, but if they don’t…fine. Paul Beane could have thrown my album in the trash if he didn’t like it, but instead he sends it back, unopened, with this letter. He’s the owner of the station and he can play what he wants, but I don’t think it’s very fair of him. If every musician had to fill out a survey on their political beliefs and personal habits, I don’t think many people would get played on the radio.”
“Deal’s politics have nothing to do with my feelings about Kevin Deal,” Beane said, just off the air from his radio show. “We play Emmy Lou Harris, who has always been anti-war. She’s been consistent in her beliefs. She’s not flippant and pandering in her views and she hasn’t publicly criticized the Commander-In-Chief on the verge of a war in which young men and women will lose their lives. I don’t care about politics as far as music is concerned.”
In a web posting on KHYI-FM’s fan web site, Beane stated he knows very few musicians who vote or make themselves aware of political issues. Lloyd Maines told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal he voted for Bush in the last election and Kevin Deal also said he voted for Bush.
“I voted for Reagan in the 1980s, too” Deal said, “and I’m a member of the NRA. It’s people like Beane who give the right wing a bad name. I have plenty of friends who have views totally different from mine and we can have a conversation about it. I wouldn’t vote for them for congress, but I’ll still listen to their music. That’s the beauty of America—we can all live together with opposing viewpoints.”
Again, Beane says his motivations for the bans are not political and that he is merely responding to the demands of KLVT’s audience.
“We don’t arbitrarily ban anybody,” he said. “Our listeners have spoken out—30 to 1 against the music of the Dixie Chicks because of what Natalie said in London. We, like all radio stations are playing music our listeners want to hear. Lloyd has made it clear in his interview with the Lubbock Avalanche Journal that he’s furious with me. My burning question—why would I want to help somebody who has publicly stated they are my enemy?”
Another reason this incident has become so heated, aside from political squabbling and the demands of listeners, is the history between Beane and Maines. This is far from the first time their paths have crossed.
“I’ve been in this business for 47 years,” Beane said. “For three generations, West Texas has supported the Maines family’s music. They are a West Texas tradition. Lloyd’s father and uncle started the Maines Brothers Band, which was carried on in its second generation by Lloyd and his brother, who had some success in 1980s. I was the only station who played and promoted them. They sold a lot of records because of me and Lloyd knows this. The Maines Brothers Band played my daughter’s engagement party. Hell, I feel betrayed!”
It seems Deal and his new record have become pawns in a Beane/Maines family feud. The banned country singer’s wife, Kim Deal, has said she doesn’t think it’s fair for Beane to punish her husband for Natalie and Lloyd’s comments.
“I think people must be very careful,” Beane said, responding to criticism of this nature. “I’m a businessman. I am constantly aware of the people I enter into partnerships with. We’re still known by the company we keep. It’s not always fair, but that’s how it is.”
Though Maines could not be reached for comment, Deal says he is sure his producer is taking these bans very hard.
“I haven’t talked to him about it,” Deal said, “but I’m sure Lloyd’s pretty beat-down about the whole thing. He’s a great guy and he doesn’t deserve this.”
In spite of his stance on projects involving Lloyd Maines, Beane said he still wishes Kevin Deal well.
“I hope he sells ten million records and gets on the cover of Rolling Stone, but I’d be greener than a spring chicken if I did anything to help someone who has made it clear that they are my enemy. I didn’t start this war, Lloyd did. As far as I’m concerned, he can kiss my ass!”