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Whiskey for my Men, Beer for my Hoopleheads: pt. 1 photo

Read Kevin Mahler's Introduction to his ongoing 5-part "Portrait Series Paralleling Characters in HBO’s Deadwood with Contemporaneous Pop Country Musicians."

When you burn your eyes and your brain and your ears out from a continuous ingestion of country music and country music videos and country music magazines, when you center your whole week around the Sunday night ritual of watching Deadwood on HBO, marinating in the thick soliloquies that beg to be watched again on the midweek rebroadcast, you start to see things. You start to see things that exist and that maybe don’t exist. 

The polished world of Nashville and the rugged world of Deadwood.

Sol Star is the prodigy with numbers. Brad Paisley is the virtuoso. Al Swearengen is the underdog. Kix Brooks is playing second fiddle. Ronnie Dunn is the primadonna with Botox injections. Cy Tolliver is the velvet-clad, entitled opportunist, ready to sell his soul for the promise of relevance. Shania is cloistered in Switzerland, never became a member of the Grand Ol’ Opry. Alma Garrett is locked in her room, in a straight jacket of sexism trying to maneuver in a very narrow space to advance her interests and not lose everything. Gary Allan has the inner turmoil. There is so much he doesn’t say. Seth Bullock represses explosive rage and breathes out pure heat over the amber waves of a legendary mustache.



Sheriff Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) & Gary Allan



Alma Garret (Molly Parker) & Shania Twain



Sol Star (John Hawkes) & Brad Paisley



Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) & Kix Brooks



Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) & Ronnie Dunn



image: Kevin Mahler