You Can Not Like The Music, But Stop Calling It ‘Not Country’
My soap box is out. You've been warned. Another country awards show has come and gone, and once again all the expert music critics have come out of the woodwork to tell us what we saw was NOT country music. Where were the fiddles? The steel guitars? The twangy voices? Reading comments like those makes me want to jab an ice pick into my ear. I'm not saying that you have to like what country music has to offer right now, but stop calling it 'not country'.
Name me a musical format that faces the same amount of criticism? Whenever someone tells me that if it doesn't sound like Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings then it isn't country, I say hey...do you ever listen to rock music? Not a classic rock station, but current rock music. Does it all sound like The Beatles? Of course not. Rock music has evolved over the decades. Some of it has been good, some of it not so great. Country music has also gone through various stages and changes. Think today's country is too pop? Try going back to the late 70's and early 80's and listen to some of the country music then. It was very pop music oriented. Heck, Lionel Ritchie produced an Alabama album! No one would say Alabama isn't 'country'.
Today's country music literally has something for everyone. If you like the pop sound then you have Thomas Rhett, FGL, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, and more. If you like things more traditional you have artists like Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Josh Turner, Brad Paisley and more. Traditionalists have to be happy that perhaps country's biggest star right now is Chris Stapleton! He has brought back a sound that has been missing from the country airwaves.
All musical formats are cyclical. Country has been trending towards pop for awhile now. But that trend is slowly turning. The Bro-Country phase that haunted country music is now nearly over. I'm not saying you have to like every song we play. We as DJs don't even care for everything. But to sit there and call it 'not country' is ignorant and uninformed. I love music by Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. And every time I want to hear their music you know what I do? I put on THEIR records. I don't turn on the radio and expect to hear them on a modern country station. Music from the past should be remembered and celebrated. But not at the expense of what is going on today.