Two weekends ago, when I was up visiting Vermont, I listened to a bunch of country radio while driving around.
At one point there was a string of songs, starting with Eric Church "Pledge Allegiance to the Hag" (as in Merle Haggard) and including "Country Boy" by Ricky Skaggs, which are all about being a fan of country music and/or being a proponent of the "country music lifestyle". I was really happy when Kenny Chesney came on and we finally got a song that wasn't about how "country" the singer was.
Anyway, this isn't a new trend in country music: these kinds of "identity politics" country songs make up a good portion of Hank Williams, Jr.'s catalog. But I was having a hard time thinking of any of these kinds of songs that pre-date HW2. I mean, I've listened to a lot of country music, but never in a very systematic way, so there might be some obvious stuff that I'm missing/forgetting here. Any recommendations of "early" country songs that deal primarily, self-referentially with country music or living a self-consciously "country" lifestyle would be greatly appreciated.