"I don't know Dan... it's just the state of country music we're in."
This was the line that struck a little chord deep down, one spring day in the year 2019 in Nashville, TN. I was having a conversation with my agent who was voicing an opinion on the genre I'd been enamored with since I was a child. This line made me think about the history of my beloved genre and the transformations it has made over the years... From Jimmy Rodgers, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams Sr., to The Man in Black, The Coal Miners Daughter and The Okie From Muskogee. From The Red Headed Stranger, the Possum and Dolly Parton all the way to Reba and King George himself, we've experienced these periods of country music that feel and sound authentic.
We've also experienced periods in the genre that feel more like departures from, instead of voyages deeper into what the soundscape of country music is and or could be. The adaptation of former pop smash hits into Award winning "Country Songs" only solidifies the argument most people have about the genre these days. "It doesn't really sound like country music."As someone who has always been fascinated with history, and the repeating of certain trends and sounds, I find it encouraging to know these moments have come in the past. And even more of a comfort to understand, they also pass.
I can only imagine what Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson went through in Nashville back when they were trying to fit in a scene they didn't really fit into. Not because they weren't talented enough or to hard headed to work with others. But because they just didn't fit in the corporate structure that, at that point had been running like a well oiled machine for a long time. That machine only got bigger and more controlled after the merger of most Radio Stations in the early 2000's.
That's another Blog...
It feels only natural for society to grow tired of the same sounds. The same songs. The same story's about the same characters playing the same parts. You watch enough sitcoms about family life in the 50's and you kinda want to see something a little edgier, Just to see something different happen. Then you might begin to relate to this character's style just because it's the new thing to do. And before you know it, you're walking around in skinny jeans and a mullet.
Eventually, all things come to an end. Good or bad, life and humanity move on and into the next realm of existence. Whether it feels like a regurgitation of something from the past, or something fresh and new, the constant sway toward and away from authenticity is something we can count on. And honestly, I'm here for it. If everything stayed the same all the time, life would be boring. Change is the only guarantee, and adapting to change is crucial...
All that to say this... We don't call an Apple an Orange, because they're different. We gave these objects different names because they are different. Yes, you can digest both an Apple and an Orange. Yes they are both round and grow on trees. Yes they are both very enjoyable... But the reason they aren't both called "Orangapples" is because they taste completely different.
The state of country music is confusing. I'm here to help sort it out. Keep up for more.