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Where are the progressive male country singers?

I WAS SOMETHING TO SEE on the May morning I left Missoula, Montana, for good, all my earthly belongings jammed in the back seat of my ’95 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, which is heavily dented and extremely pink. Missoula is a wacky and lovable university town that is home to a half-dozen microbreweries, herds of urban deer, and one saloon that has been open continuously, 24 hours a day, since 1883. I lived there for four happy and shiftless years of reading, waitressing, whiskey, inner tubing, burritos, and karaoke. I lit out on Interstate 90 for my parents’ house in Lincoln, Nebraska, washed in the wide-open sadness of the American range.

The indulgent, corny romance of my melancholy was not lost on me. I saw myself as straight out of a country song. I left Missoula early on a Sunday. Milk crates of clothes and books in my back seat. Cruising I-90 in my pink Oldsmobile. Something something something steering wheel.

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