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Country singer Lee Greenwood 'would be embarrassed to turn down inauguration'


The Capitol in Washington DC as the city prepares for Donald Trump's inauguration. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Capitol in Washington DC as the city prepares for Donald Trump's inauguration. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Capitol in Washington DC as the city prepares for Donald Trump's inauguration. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Country music singer Lee Greenwood said he could not imagine the "embarrassment" at turning down an invitation to perform at a presidential inauguration, adding that "very few people get the honour".

Greenwood, 74, will perform at Thursday evening's Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration, which officially kicks off festivities ahead of the inauguration of American President-elect Donald Trump, in Washington DC.

This will be the Grammy award-winning singer's fourth performance during an inaugural ceremony - having previously performed during President Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and George W Bush's ceremonies.

Greenwood told the Press Association: "I don't know that you could ever turn down a congressional invitation, I can't imagine the embarrassment you would receive.

"Very few people get that honour and this is my fourth inauguration that I've attended and the third time I've sang for a President, and so, I don't think there was any reason not to go."

The singer will perform his 1983 hit God Bless the USA on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

"It's a surreal moment when you step out and look down the mall at the Capitol, standing at the place where Abraham Lincoln was honoured and then get to sing the song I wrote for America (God Bless the USA) which seems to be America's anthem now," he said.

Greenwood said the current mood in America was "very positive".

Talking about Mr Trump he said: "Donald Trump, as you know, the President-elect, was elected because I think, what it is, America is so tired of the business as usual in Washington DC and I think this is the one person in any era I can ever remember, during my lifetime, that has not been affiliated with the Washington DC 'elite'."

:: Some of the other performers billed to perform at the inauguration events, such as the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration:

Toby Keith, a US singer who has topped the country charts and said of his forthcoming appearance: "I don't apologise for performing for our country or military."

Jon Voight, Oscar-winning star and father of Angelina Jolie with films like Midnight Cowboy to his name. He is expected to speak at the event.

The Piano Guys, a Utah-based group, which first found fame on YouTube. "We don't feel right limiting our positive message only to people that believe or act the same way we do," they have said.

DJ RaviDrums, a drummer and DJ whose real name is Ravi Jakhotia. " My beliefs are, it's time for America to come together," he has said.

3 Doors Down, a Mississippi rock band best known for the song Kryptonite.

The Frontmen of Country, a country group featuring Tim Rushlow, former lead singer of Little Texas, Larry Stewart of Restless Heart and Richie McDonald of Lonestar.

Jackie Evancho, the former America's Got Talent contestant will sing the national anthem at the swearing-in ceremony.

The Radio City Rockettes, some, but not all of the dance group, have agreed to perform at the inauguration.

Sam Moore, of R &B duo Sam & Dave, has joined the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration, which kicks off the inaugural events.

Charlotte Church, Rebecca Ferguson and Moby all said they turned down invitations by Mr Trump's team to perform - and Sir Elton John denied reports he will take part.

Broadway singer Jennifer Holliday cancelled her scheduled appearance, citing a backlash, and Bruce Springsteen tribute band the B Street Band pulled out of the inauguration ball.

The line-up at the first inaugural concert hosted by Barack Obama as he became the 44th president of the United States in 2009 was led by big hitters from the world of music that included names such as Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Stevie Wonder and Mary J Blige.

The concert, titled We Are One, saw Beyonce sing America The Beautiful and included appearances on stage from Hollywood celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Samuel L Jackson and Jamie Foxx.

In 2009, Hanks, Washington, Jackson and Foxx, already had six Oscar wins between them.

In the months leading up to Obama's first appointment, a host of equally impressive celebrity names supported him by organising fundraisers.

Springsteen held a number of concerts while other stars such as television magnate Oprah Winfrey, actor George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson were outspoken in their support for his presidential bid.

When he won the vote for the second time in 2013, the list of celebrities ready to endorse him remained as impressive.

At the 2013 concert Beyonce sang the national anthem, American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson performed My Country 'Tis Of Thee and James Taylor sang America The Beautiful.

PA Media