Sure. It’s Cool But Is It Country?

Maybe it’s because I’m an older dawg but I agree with Emmylou Harris’ assessment of the recent country scene:”It took a strange turn at some point, she tells, “And maybe it’s when it got really popular ….Guys singing about ‘Drive my tractor,’ and they probably can’t even drive a manual transmission …They worry about having a hit and [are] lowering the bar lyrically.”

Country - Cam
Just Call Her “Cam”

I was thinking of these comments as I read an interview with Camaron Ochs in a recent National Public Radio newsletter. Known professionally as Cam, this 31 year old blond California native is one of the rising stars of the current country universe and yet I couldn’t help but notice that she cites some of the more traditional acts during her interview: George Jones ( One of my favorite songs is [starts singing], “She thinks I still care … That’s why it’s so confusing, I think, for some people who are more traditional [country fans]: Where did that go? ….”); Loretta Lynn (“The fact that she was like, ‘I’m going to be real about what this did for me,’ that is mind blowing and changes people’s lives and helps anyone watching be themselves.”); Patsy Cline (I love Patsy Cline [singing about] heartbreak. That’s just something that just gets me. ..”) Buck Owens and Merle Haggard ( It’s very scary to be different in the way that you look, the way that I’m from California. I don’t know why. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard  validated [the California country tradition] already ….”)


This month’s issue of Acoustic Guitar has a cover story on Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle entitled “Rebels With A Cause: How Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle Saved Country Music” and goes on to state: “The neo-traditional movement sprouted in the mid-’80s as a formidable alternative to such tepid pop-flavored country acts as Kenny Rogers, Juice Newton, Marie Osmond, Ronnie Milsap, and other mainstream artists that dominated the country charts …. “After half a decade of slumping sales and stifled creativity, country music has turned itself around,” the New York Times opined, just a year after the release of Yoakam and Earle’s major-label debuts. “Today the nonupholstered, acoustically based sound of the so-called new traditionalists has captured the ears of a new young audience. . . . Record companies here in Nashville are frantically competing to sign young singers and songwriters who look back to the great honky-tonk tradition of the 1940s and ’50s.”

country - earle

 Frankly, I think we need a new  wave of new traditionalists to save country music once again. However. it probably won’t happen. There is too much money to be made – millions more than Hag or Randy Travis in their heyday – by so-called “hat acts.”




Author: rixbitz

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