Call me a cranky old cowboy but most of today’s country music ain’t country. Time was, you could identify a country song by its sound within thirty seconds. Now it’d be a challenge to figure out if a new song was intended for the pop, rock or country charts without first learning who was singing the song. If it was an established so-called country act a person would know it was intended for country airplay (with crossover play in mind ) but otherwise they might not have a clue.
Sure, I know country music has to change and evolve just like any other art form but what happens when it changes so much that it loses the appeal that made it special in the first place? What happens when a working class rooted music becomes subverted by upper class economics? What happens when what one writer called “white man’s blues” becomes “white man’s pop” ?
And let’s keep the “white” in there. In spite of the flood of new talent inundating the country music marketplace, the overwhelming number of acts are white males (so much for diversity and inclusion.)
One country and western veteran who is an avid fan of the music and has been recording her favorites and touring since the “70s says she doesn’t even listen to country radio anymore because she can’t relate to what they are playing. I am damn sure she is not the only one.
A while back Acoustic Guitar Magazine published a cover story on how “neo-traditionalists” like Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam and Rosanne Cash saved country music back in the mid 80s. Who is going to save country music now?