NEW YORK – Country rock band Confederate Railroad has been under fire for its name.
So much so, venues have removed the band from their lineups, including the upcoming Ulster County Fair in New York. Last week, a spokesman for Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan called Confederate Railroad's logo, which depicts a steam train flying dual Confederate flags, "a symbol of division and racism."
Danny Shirley, the lead singer of Confederate Railroad, responded to being dropped from the gig in a statement to Fox News:
"I am who I am. We do what we do. I’ve been performing for more than 43 years and, hell, I’ve never seen anything like this.
"Through that time me and the boys have been out playing for and connecting with audiences around the world with everyone having a good time. That’s what brings people together.
"Lately, there have been a few officials who decided they didn’t want anyone to see us. But I’ve truly been humbled and overwhelmed by the outcry from the fans and our fellow artists saying they really do want to see us.
"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. To the fans who have stuck with us over the years though, thank you very much! You know who we are. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
"I am who I am. We will keep doing what we do. The name of my band ain’t gonna change.
"If you’ve never seen us before, maybe this is the time to come out and see what this is all about."
In early July, they were also dropped from the Du Quoin State Fair in Du Quoin, Ill., which is set to take place in August. At the time, Shirley told Fox News, it was "disappointing" to learn the news.
"We had played there before and it had gone great," he said. "We were looking forward to playing."
Shirley helped form the band in 1987 and never expected there to be backlash about the name. "The attitude in the country was totally different then," he explained.
Shirley added that the name was taken from a train that existed in the South during the Civil War and he never thought about updating the name as time progressed.
"The people that don't like the name of the band aren't going to be fans anyway," he said. "The last thing you want to do to the people who have supported all these years is to turn on them. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and keep having fun onstage."
The logo has previously been on albums and printed on T-shirts, which they sell at events. Shirley has agreed not to sell merchandise with the logo and be as "cooperative as possible."
Confederate Railroad is still booking over 100 shows a year and, according to Shirley, "Everyone is welcome at our shows."