Country Music is America’s Music.

In this day in age, that is not a good thing for either Country Music or America. It is a reflection of a genre and a nation that will proudly shit-can its own history.

What happened? When did we become such a materialistic group that demands the new and flashy products as soon as possible? Throwing out something older, but still works and has proven reliable. I don’t even know if I am addressing American consumers or Country Music fans in that last paragraph.

Country fans use to be so unique.  We welcomed diverse opinions. A Merle Haggard record with the song “Okie from Muskogee” could sit on the same shelf as a Kris Kristofferson album containing the song “Broken Freedom Song.”

For those unfamiliar with the songs, one contains the lyrics :

Got a song about a soldier, 
ridin’ somewhere on a train
empty sleeve pinned to his shoulder
and some pills to ease the pain

The other song:

We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don’t take no trips on LSD
We don’t burn no draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin’ right, and bein’ free.

Then somewhere along the country side the music got in a big ol’ American truck and went down a different road. Country music took a dip in popularity in the 1980’s, Garth Brooks became popular, The Dixie Chicks were blacklisted for questioning the motives of the Iraq war and songs became about red solo cups, trucks and how women are songs. Artists became the guy at the bar who yells “bro” and wears flannel and either a trucker hat or a black cowboy hat.

The infuriating part about current country music is all of the songs sound exactly the same. Before all of you modern Country fans are quick to dismiss the previous statement, I’ll let you know I am a Musician. Not “musician.” Musician. I teach music, play two instruments, and can fumble through two additional instruments.

So as a fierce Country music fan, I am about to give all of the Country music haters all the fuel they need to justify their hate. Don’t worry, I’m sure all of you defenders have the ability to “shake it off.”

A quick little background. This past November I went to Nashville and was able to meet with a radio producer. In order to churn out so many songs to keep the radio playlists fresh, major record companies rely on session musicians. Musicians so talented they can learn, perform, and record a song in three or four attempts.

Using session musicians is not a new practice, and it is not the shocking revelation. That is reserved for the fact Florida Georgia Line wants to sound like Luke Bryan, who wants to sound like Kenny Chesney, who wants to sound like….

In the copycat process, the same four or five session musicians are used for every single major hit that comes out of Nashville. Even in the 1960’s, Motown had their own session musicians. Which is why those records sounded worlds apart from the studio musicians who were recording for Stax.

Nowhere at Stax did the following conversation occur:

>“Hey, I really like that sound on the new Supremes album out of Motown. Let’s just hire the exact same band and put our own singer in front.”

>>“You know we have our own musicians who can create our own sound. Let’s try to top that Motown sound.”

>“Ummm…ehhh…f**k originality. Here is your ticket to Detroit. Go get that band.”

Being original seemed to fuel the writing and recording process. What’s the process now? “I really like that song about women being like a song. Hire the guys who played on that album and we will write about women being….um….a pair of boots.”

AND PEOPLE BUY IT!

Why?! Why do a majority of you settle for simple? The movie “Idiocracy” was supposed to be a comedy, not a damn documentary.

Please, I beg for the fans of modern Country music to defend where the genre is, and why they like it, because I do not understand the current appeal. Is it because the music is fun? Chet Atkins is fun. Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys are also fun.

Do those classic artists not appeal to a modern audience because they sound antiquated?  If so, then it reaffirms my belief that country music fans are materialistic. The songs they enjoy must have the squeaky clean production. Songs that can get them pumped up as they push over people when the new iPhone is released in limited quantities.

Music was a form of art.

Was.

Anyone wanting to delve into the history of Country music, I highly recommend the following compilation —

“Columbia Country Classics” Volumes 1-3

For specific artists, I recommend –

Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys
Hank Williams
Chet Atkins
Patsy Cline
Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Willie Nelson

Johnny Cash
Merle Haggard
Waylon Jennings
Dwight Yoakam
Junior Brown
Hank Williams III
Dale Watson
Sturgill Simpson

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