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What’s Wrong with Country Music Today?

One artist thinks that the genre in its current form is dead, and he just might have a point.

by
Chris Queen

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May 19, 2014 - 3:43 pm
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Pretty boy duo Florida-Georgia Line exemplifies all that's wrong with country music in 2014.

Pretty boy duo Florida-Georgia Line exemplifies all that’s wrong with country music in 2014.

I’ve complained about the state of modern mainstream country music for a long time now. And clearly, I’m not alone. Singer-songwriter Collin Raye, one of the top country artists throughout the ’90s, recently took to Fox News to air his grievances at the state of country music today.

As a platinum-selling country music artist and, more importantly, a lifelong fan of the genre, I’d like to send out this heartfelt plea to the gatekeepers of the industry:

Enough already.

I’d like to think that I am expressing what nearly every artist, musician and songwriter (with perhaps a few exceptions) is thinking when I contend that the Bro’ Country phenomenon must cease.

It has had its run for better or worse and it’s time for Nashville to get back to producing, and more importantly promoting, good singers singing real songs. It’s time for country music to find its identity again before it is lost forever.

[...]

Disposable, forgettable music has been the order of the day for quite a while now and it’s time for that to stop.

Our beautiful, time-honored genre, has devolved from lines like, “I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday … holding Bobby’s body next to mine,” and “a canvas covered cabin, in a crowded labor camp stand out in this memory I revive. Cause my Daddy raised a family there with two hard working hands….and tried to feed my Momma’s hungry eyes,” down to “Can I get a Yee Haw?”

And the aforementioned Truck! “Come on slide them jeans on up in my truck! Let’s get down and dirty in muh truck, doggone it I just get off riding in muh truck, I love ya honey, but not as much as muh truck!” Oh and we can’t leave out the beautiful prose about partying in a field or pasture.

He goes on to lay the blame at the feet of the label honchos rather than at the artists or songwriters. “They have the power and ability to make a commitment to make records that keep the legacy of country music alive, and reclaim a great genre’s identity.”

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Top Rated Comments   
A couple of thoughts:

For people like Collin Raye who complain that the music BUSINESS people are destroying the music, how about getting together with some like-minded people and starting your own label - like the lead character on "Nashville?" You think you know better what country fans want? Then give it to them and see!

I for one, will be very glad when the pop-tart of the month craze leaves the music biz. I am so sick and tired of performers who can't even sing being all I see and hear. Without the pitch-correcting gadgets half of the performers out there - especially female performers - would not be up on stage. Let's get more artists who may not have big breasts but can carry a tune.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is still good music out there and it is Bluegrass, not Newgrass, but real traditional bluegrass and old time Appalachian music played live by real musicians with talent and stagecraft and who basically do it as a sideline because there is very little money in it.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a classically trained musician who enjoys some country music, let me tell you that all music is in the doldrums right now. The stuff that is currently being produced in the classical tradition is nothing more than sound effects. Just ask yourself whether anyone would notice if someone played a wrong note. Answer, no.

Artists are born, not made. Treating entertainers as artists doesn't make them artists. Look at rock and roll, it used to be fun music and now, it too is mostly junk. Yes, there is good stuff out there, but it is hard to find.

The solution, good music education in our schools. We don't have it despite what you may be told. I've been there and done it so I know.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (56)
All Comments   (56)
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Hank Wiliams, Tammy Wynett and even Pearl at the Ole Opry were the standard. Still are. George Strait with all his personal issues was a great country star. Then there were the cross overs, The Man in Black Johnny Cash, forgotten Carl Perkins and even Elvis Presley. R&B, Gospel and Country (the original) were and still are the standard for all American modern day music. Well, except for the street corner variety (Rap et al). It's time to get back to basics and sing. Yelling songs, screaming lyrics at the top of ones voice isn't singing, it's yelling and offensive. Country music's roots will live forever, regardless of what network honchos say, think and do to country music genre. Pray. Amen.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I, personally, do not like country music. I see no need for "letting it all hang out" and don't want to hear about all the trials and tribulations. SOooooooo, I would be glad to have it gone.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Today's country music fans will be able to say,
"I was country when country wasn't country."
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a newcomer to country music and I have to say that I am surprised at the amount of rock and rap played by country musicians on country music Awards shows.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow. This article reveals that country music has become stupider than I knew.

I wouldn't have thought that was actually...possible.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Zac Brown Band is the only current country act I would pay to see.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
My biggest gripe with today's country music is that it is all copycat, sound alike and predictable. If I am someplace where country music is playing in the background I have noticed that most of the time you can't tell when one song ends and the next one begins because they all sound so similar. Take me back to the good old days of pure acoustic picking.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The day country music died for me is the day that Blake Sheldon complained about about country music of the past. Country music has been taken over by kids that have had their computer confiscated by their parents due to bad behavior and are angry by that.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lost a much longer post boasting the virtues of Texas Music, but here's the highlights:
When in doubt, always look down to Texas

Bob Wills brought us Texas Swing
Waylon, Terry Allen, The Flatlanders, Terry Allen, Joe Ely in the 70's
Then it was George Strait who gave us 30+ years of music
Blake and Miranda have also been right there

What's playing in Texas today? Randy Rodgers, Kevin Fowler, Reckless Kelly, Wade Bowen, Mickey and the Motor Cars, Cory Morrow, Robert Earl Keene, Charla Corn, Jody Nix, Trent Wilmon, RW Hampton and The Iveys. You'll find these guys playing bars and college towns all over Texas, Gruene Hall and Luchenbach are still hopping.

We still love the old stuff too. George is about to fill up Texas Stadium for his last big show and Willie had a massive 80th birthday bash recently. I drove 400 miles to catch one of Glen Campbell's last shows. Heck, Asleep at the Wheel can still pack a venue anytime they pull up the bus and unload (last time it ran me $100 a seat.)

Just a note - check out The Iveys current album - There is absolutely NO AUTOTUNE on any track.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good list, but you forgot Matt Stalling, Houston Marchman, Wayne Hancock, Don Walser (RIP). Yes, TX music beats the crap outta anything spewing from Nashville!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I said, I had a much longer post - including many of the greats in Texas music. My grandmother played shows with Bob Wills when he toured radio stations and I attended my first "county fair" dance to Keith Stegal - I was 2 weeks old. I came of age when Lubbock was the place to play and earn your chops. If you're lucky you'd cut a record and get it to Austin.

Take heart.... Texas will always hold down the roots. Even though he plays in 3 symphonies and a couple of jazz ensembles - my son (the engineer) is happiest when he's sitting in on sessions with Red Dirt bands.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Right. The TV show "Hee Haw" actually had exquisite music. It parody'd the Hillbilly stereotype but gave us a weekly 4 part gospel song led by Roy Clark and sometimes a beautiful duet with Grampa Jones and his wife Ramona playing guitar and mandolin.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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