Will Eastern Kentucky Save us from Bad Country Music?

 

“Country” artist Luke Bryan.

I don’t know much, but I do know that “Today’s Hot Country Music” is an abominable soulless mass of bland generic garbage, full of cliches and put-on accents, and so devoid of anything worthy of attention that I can’t even enjoy hating it. All the songs are like little musicalized Facebook posts, a dispiriting pile of vapidity and artistic apathy unrivaled in the history of Western Civilization. My wife will listen to nothing else.

I’ve done everything I can do, from helpfully providing her with the above description of her favorite music, to recommending more pleasant alternatives, such as the ‘80s station, or maybe the sound of an ice pick entering my own ear canal, and these suggestions went over just about as well you would imagine.  She only gave serious consideration to the latter, but ultimately decided against it.

And so, against my will, I must listen to Today’s Hot Country, too.  Such is life, I suppose, but what really hurts is that she has the kids into it.  On car rides, I am hopelessly outnumbered.  Every time I hear “gurrrrl,” or  “cold beer,” or  “t-shirt” or “tight jeans” or “partyin’”(pronounced “pawrtyin”) either “on the beach” or “on the farm,” or some version of the proclamation “I’m country!” fake-drawled over canned music, my eyes roll like the wheels on the City of New Orleans, and my heart sinks like a stone.

You’ve heard the old joke about what happens when you play a country song backwards – you get your wife back, your truck back, and your dog back.  It’s a fine joke, but never quite fair to good country music, which, while there has always been some goofing off here and there, generally takes pain very seriously.

Nowadays, I don’t think anyone under 30, if the only country they’ve heard is on mainstream radio, would even get that joke.

Because unlike that unkind, strife-filled world you find in traditional Country music and its root ancestors, everything is going great for the singers of Today’s Hot Country.  The love songs are straight from Hallmark cards and chick-flicks, sappy, sweet, and fawning.  There is no pain to be found, or at least none that doesn’t have some silver lining, redemptive lesson, or happy ending.  There is no confusion or doubt.  The good times are really good times and they are rolling along with no sign of stopping.  Not only has the singer never lost his pickup truck, it’s the greatest pickup truck ever and there’s a pawrty in it every Fraday nat after the bawl game.  Not only has the wife not left him, she’s the greatest wife ever  ‘cuz she’s so country and don’t mind him feeshin’ and drankin’ ice-cold Bud Light with his freeinds.  She luvs Bud Light, too!  In long-neck bottles.  On a dirt road.  In her tat blue jaynes.  Everything is a honey-sweet sticky celebration of rural and small-town life.

It’s revolting.  It’s a caricature of the culture it purports to champion.  I grew up in rural Kentucky surrounded by hill people.  In fact, I was one of them (as I later learned).  I live in a small town now.  Nothing about this music makes takes me home. It’s stupid, pandering, artless, and embarrassing.  I’m not suggesting that every song has to be about pain, but at least put some thought into it, something from down deep.  Everything is simple and there is nothing below the surface in Today’s Hot Country.

The Bro-Country party songs are exceptional specimens of a pernicious culture-strangling weed. Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not categorically against songs about fishing, or trucks, or even blue jeans, and definitely not opposed to songs about drinking – but that’s not what these songs are.  These are songs about liking those things, not about those things themselves.  They are proclamations of the singer’s likes and hobbies, sung as if someone cares.  So, instead of songs actually about fishing, with some artful statement about why it’s relaxing, or whatever, we get songs that just declare (as if it’s controversial), “I LUV FEESHIN!  THAT’S ME AND YOU JUST HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT!  AND I LOVE ICE COLD BUD LIGHT, TOO!” (reaches for the check from a Bud Light rep) AND GUURLS IN TIGHT JEANS!  SO I CAN SEE THE CONTOUR OF THUR BUTT!  I’M SO COUNTRY!” (Yes, I’m generalizing and cramming a bunch of songs into one representative sample, but that’s the gist of it.)

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll reluctantly give you a little sample of it.  Luke Bryan is often seen as the poster child for this disastrous development in country music.  And rightfully so.  Here’s one of his recent hits,  That’s My Kinda Night.  (Don’t be distracted by the eye-candy in the video; the song is obnoxious and awful.)

Not only are the Hot New Country lyrics trite, the music is terrible, too, filled with generic computer beats.  You might listen to a modern country station for an hour before you hear an actual musician playing an instrument.  You would have to wait even longer to hear an actual musician playing an instrument who isn’t just going through the motions.  They also seem to be doing something with the voices of a lot of the male singers.  I don’t know if it’s auto-tuning, but it’s some kind of extra vibration, the auditory equivalent of artificial carbonation.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  It’s very distracting.

That’s not how it used to be in country music (well, I mean, I guess there was always some silly stuff, but not to this extent).  I could, of course, refer you back to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings,  etc… those great country legends of the past who are oft-mentioned, but never imitated, in Today’s Hot Country.

But you don’t really have to even go back that far to find good art in Country Music.  Even in the ’90s, mainstream Country radio was filled with great songs like Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon,” or Clint Black’s “Better Man,” or Dwight Yoakam’s “Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” or John Anderson’s “Straight Tequila Night,” among many others.  Nothing on the radio today comes close.

What happened?

If you only listened to Today’s Hot Country, you would think a great American art form had died a gross, ignominious death. And for a long time, that’s what I did think.  I could only console myself on solo drives with downloads of the classics and try to forget.  I missed, and the world missed, good country music.  It was a necessary ingredient to our cultural stew, and somehow, in the span of just a few years, it was diluted into oblivion.

Now, I wrote this post primarily just to vent, to find an outlet for my irritation, (one that won’t lead to divorce pleadings.)  I really just wanted to complain.  I don’t mean for it to be taken too seriously, and I admit my wife has a point when she says I’m no fun when it comes to music.  And, it’s true that this divide in the country music world is old news for many.  There has been a lot of back and forth among critics and artists over the last few years.  But for those like me, who share my despair (there’s a phrase for a good country song), but may not have kept close tabs on the controversy over the years, I also want to tell you there is hope.

First, as bad as Country has gotten, not all is lost in the broader music world. Over the years, I have enjoyed some of the nice new folky, semi-country, bluegrassy, semi-rock Americana style (your Avett Brothers, your Jason Isbells, your Ryan Adams’s, etc.) which are all very good, and some of it is spectacular – (Neko Case – I mean… have mercy.) There is some wonderful new music out there, far better than you will ever hear on the radio, and even if it’s not really country, some of it gets very close.

More importantly, while it may be in a coma, there are signs of life in country music if you know where to look.  Appropriately enough, given the history of the genre, these signs of life seem to be coming in mostly, or at least disproportionately, from the hills and hollers of Eastern Kentucky.

To wit: I first discovered it one day, maybe 4 years ago or so, while driving solo, when a song came on the college radio station I was listening to, where I often caught good Americana.   I don’t remember if the d.j. announced it or not, I just remember I heard a ship’s bell ring, a snare drum snap, and then an undeniably country voice belt out:

“Basic was just like Papaw said,

‘Keep your mouth shut and you’ll be fine’

Just another enlisted egg

in the bowl for Uncle Sam’s beater.”

And it went on from there – rollicking beat, steel guitars, a singer filled with pain and confusion, story of a Navy enlistment gone wrong.  Trouble, anguish, experiences that might actually be interesting and nothing that would ever show up in a Facebook post.  A natural Appalachian accent (“Kuala Lampur” pronounced “Kuala Lampawr”; “what” pronounced “hwot”).  Good musicians playing real instruments in ways that require thought and skill.

“What is this!?” I thought. “It’s country! It’s new! And it’s spectacular!” What it was was Sturgill Simpson’s “Sea Stories,” and it was the best country song I had heard in decades.

That song sent me down a happy rabbit hole of good, new, country music.  Looking further into Sturgill led to Tyler Childers, which led to Ian Noe and a number of others.  What they mainly had in common was quality writing, great musicians to back them up, authentic and soulful sounds, true to Country’s roots, all those things missing in Today’s Hot Country. What they also had in common was that they were all from Eastern Kentucky.  Chris Stapleton, I should point out, perhaps the only good country artist who still gets a little radio time (but not enough), is also a Kentuckian.

Compare the music of these artists, I’ll call it Kentucky Country for convenience, to Today’s Hot Country and it’s hard to imagine they’re in the same music family at all.  Kentucky Country is often very dark, but, to be fair, it comes from a place where darkness has reigned for decades.  Tyler Childers, whose album Purgatory has cover art with the outline of Lawrence County, Kentucky, minces no words about this.  His great murder ballad “Banded Clovis,”  tells the tale of two men digging for valuable ancient arrowheads in “the dark and bloody ground,” (which is what scholars used to say was the original meaning of the word for Kentucky.)  Spoiler alert – it does not go well when they find one, a modern killing done over the remains of an ancient one.  Even Childers’ country party song, “Whitehouse Road,” is a little twisted, with a narrator who, despite his braggadocio, is ultimately pathetic and doomed, a far cry from the perfect good times found in Today’s Hot Country.

Ian Noe, a native of Lee County, also sings songs unsuitable for social media posts.  The narrator in Noe’s song “Meth Head,” for example, has no use for any soft-glove treatment of meth addicts, describing them as zombies preying on productive members of society, and then proposing the following solution:

“It’ll be dark pretty soon,

They love to lurk by the moon,

So I’m outside, shoveling the dirt

I’m gonna dig me a hole,

As deep as I can do,

And when they fall,

I’m gonna cover ’em up.”

But it’s not all darkness and dread in the new Kentucky Country sound.  There is some range in themes.  Childers, for example, is capable of very nice love songs, and also has an odd but brilliant song called Born Again, in which the singer recounts various adventures in reincarnation.

Here is a good spot for a direct comparison.  If you clicked on the link to the horrific Luke Bryan song, which is partially about taking a young lady for a “date” on the water, do yourself a favor and check out Childers’ Lady May.  It also features a young man asking a girl to come down to the water with him.  But, unlike Luke Bryan’s adolescent mess, it’s a masterful and haunting piece of real music.

There has always been, of course, an outlaw country element – a side of country music that never made it to mainstream radio.  But back in the day, there were still good songs on mainstream country radio, and so the outlaw country movement didn’t matter as much.  Now, it’s all that’s keeping country music alive.

Now, it’s true that a lot of the music I’ve mentioned can’t be played on the radio.  Childers’ “Whitehouse Road,” for example, mentions fairly explicit drug use.  In addition to the very dark subject matter, Noe’s “Meth Head” is nicely sprinkled with f-bombs.

But they all have some basically clean, wonderful songs, too.   Nothing in this poetry, for example, from Noe’s “Letter to Madeline” will get a radio station fined:

“In the pouring snow, sad but swift,

I headed down the highway hoping that the burden of my blues would lift,

And praying that whiskey would keep me brave,

Oh, but I got caught in the cold,

Lookin’ like a hobo without no mercy from the road,

And feelin’ like a dead man without a grave.”

I know there are new great country artists from places other than the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, but if you’ll allow a homesick Kentuckian, proud of his native state which has often seemed a hard place to be proud of, this indulgence, I would only point out that I’m not the only one to notice.  Texas, as always, has a thriving outlaw country scene.  But Texas is huge.  Eastern Kentucky’s disproportionate contribution is more impressive.  The music from Eastern Kentucky also has that Appalachian flavor, the touch of those old hymns and the pathologies of people in a perpetually depressed area, that gives it a certain charm and a certain interesting twist.

And lest you think the examples I’ve given here are just cherry-picked local artists, which can be found anywhere, I would point out that Sturgill’s above-mentioned album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, won the Grammy for Best Country Album in 2017, despite getting no play on mainstream country radio.  Absurdly, Sturgill was not invited to the CMA Awards that year, or any year as far as I know.  (I don’t know if Luke Bryan went, but if he did, I’m sure he had big ol’ cowboy boots on his feet, a catfish flapping around in his shirt pocket, some ol’ Hank in his earbuds, and a gurl in tight jeans by his side.  ‘CUZ HE’S SO COUNTRY!)

Ian Noe was a protege of the late John Prine, and opened a number of the legend’s shows. (Whose passing shamefully went un-mentioned at the 2020 CMA awards, to give you an idea of how far that organization has fallen.)  It’s easy to hear the influence Prine had on him.  Noe is doing a marvelous job carrying on that legacy.

Tyler Childers has also gotten a great deal of attention from serious music fans and critics.  Likewise shunned by the mainstream Country powers-that-be, he won the award for Emerging Artist of the Year from the Americana Music Association in 2018.  In perfect rebel country musician style, in his acceptance speech, Childers told the members of the Americana Music Association, right to their faces, that as far as he was concerned Americana music “ain’t no part of nothin'” and that he considered himself a country musician.  They let him keep the award anyway.

In the end, there is little hope that the Hot New Country Goliath can be defeated.  It’s just too popular.  Why, I have no idea.  In that regard Hot New Country is no different a lot of the trends I see but don’t understand – social media posts about what’s for supper, gender reveal parties, watching videos of other people playing video games, and on and on.

So, I don’t know much, but I do know what this new group of alternative, outlaw country artists are doing.  They’re taking the good music their culture taught them, and they’re making new music from it.  This music is as good as any that America has ever produced.  And even if it’s not on the radio, these guys are making a living at it, making new fans every day, inspiring new generations to carry it on.  American culture needs good country music, and if these guys can keep going, we will have it.  If you search around on Youtube, you can find a video of Tyler Childers singing “Whitehouse Road” at Red Rocks Amphitheater.  The Colorado crowd knows every word to that Kentucky song.  That’s a good sign.

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  1. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Ah, the good old days. (One breach of the CoC at the end.)

    • #1
  2. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Ah, the good old days. (One breach of the CoC at the end.)

    Beat me to it.

    • #2
  3. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Ah, the good old days. (One breach of the CoC at the end.)

    Beat me to it.

    I spent some time in the south as a small lad. Hated the cheating songs and the done me wrong songs, especially “Take the Ribbon From Your Hair,” but I loved most of Johnny Cash, the only name I really knew at the time, and later most of Kristofferson (with the obvious major exception already cited, “…cuz I’ve enjoyed about as much of this as I can stand…”) and Prine, but out of all that time it’s that David Allen Coe song I find myself singing in the car or the shower.

    Thanks for the post, D.A.

    • #3
  4. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    D.A. Venters: I don’t know much, but I do know that “Today’s Hot Country Music” is an abominable soulless mass of bland generic garbage, full of cliches and put-on accents, and so devoid of anything worthy of attention that I can’t even enjoy hating it. All the songs are like little musicalized Facebook posts, a dispiriting pile of vapidity and artistic apathy unrivaled in the history of Western Civilization. My wife will listen to nothing else.

    Wonderful paragraph.

    And a wonderful post.  Thanks.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    That “David Allan Coe song” was written by John Prine and Steve Goodman. Steve Goodman also wrote “City of New Orleans,” Which DA had linked above with a version by Willie Nelson.

    Of course, Goodman never wrote anything silly.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    One of the issues is that we had a shift in genres. Country became what classic 1950’s Rock-n-Roll used to be. Bluegrass is much closer to what country used to be:

    • #6
  7. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Arahant (View Comment):

    That “David Allan Coe song” was written by John Prine and Steve Goodman. Steve Goodman also wrote “City of New Orleans,” Which DA had linked above with a version by Willie Nelson.

    Of course, Goodman never wrote anything silly.

    Not breaking new ground here since Coe credits Goodman in his performance. As for City, I lean toward Arlo Guthrie’s version. But I ain’t got a nickel.

    • #7
  8. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    When XM was their own company, the X Country (cross country) station was amazing.  After the XM/Sirius merger, the Outlaw Country station is the next best thing.  Too much yakking by the DJ’s but still none of that Nashville top 40 auto tune garbage. 

    • #8
  9. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Great Post DA.  It used to be that there would be some decent Country Music at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland (along the “Country Music Highway”) but now, not so much.  Still, every once in awhile, in the River Towns (Huntington, Portsmouth, etc.) you can still hear some really good music (Bluegrass, Gospel).

    It’s still out there but it seems it’s getting harder to find…

    • #9
  10. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Not all new stuff is unworthy.  Try this.

    • #10
  11. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    Not all new stuff is unworthy. Try this.

    I love Chris Stapleton. In fact I just heard that one on the radio.

    I have to confess that I like a lot of the new country. But when I make up my own playlist it’s mostly the oldies:

    Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Loretta, Buck Owens, etc. I’m partial to Dwight Yoakam and Merle Haggard – not really oldies.

    I really enjoyed the series PBS did last year on country music. I think it was 12 or 13 two hour episodes.

     

    • #11
  12. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    Not all new stuff is unworthy. Try this.

    I love Chris Stapleton. In fact I just heard that one on the radio.

    I have to confess that I like a lot of the new country. But when I make up my own playlist it’s mostly the oldies:

    Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Loretta, Buck Owens, etc. I’m partial to Dwight Yoakam and Merle Haggard – not really oldies.

    I really enjoyed the series PBS did last year on country music. I think it was 12 or 13 two hour episodes.

    I enjoyed it too.

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters: I don’t know much, but I do know that “Today’s Hot Country Music” is an abominable soulless mass of bland generic garbage, full of cliches and put-on accents, and so devoid of anything worthy of attention that I can’t even enjoy hating it. All the songs are like little musicalized Facebook posts, a dispiriting pile of vapidity and artistic apathy unrivaled in the history of Western Civilization. My wife will listen to nothing else.

    Wonderful paragraph.

    And a wonderful post. Thanks.

    Agree.  Thanks.

    I like real music, sung by real people playing real instruments, rather than heavily modified, tracks-laid-down-on-top-of-each-other synthesized stuff.  Am fond of Catherine McClellan, a Prince Edward Island musician, and the daughter of Gene (Snowbird, Put Your Hand in the Hand) McClellan.

    • #12
  13. Dominique Prynne Member
    Dominique Prynne
    @DominiquePrynne

    D.A. Venters: Texas, as always, has a thriving outlaw country scene.  But Texas is huge.  Eastern Kentucky’s disproportionate contribution is more impressive.  The music from Eastern Kentucky also has that Appalachian flavor, the touch of those old hymns and the pathologies of people in a perpetually depressed area, that give it a certain charm and a certain interesting twist.

    Endorsed! 

    And the Texas scene is on fire!  

     https://www.texascountrymusicchart.com/
     

    If you want to craft a playlist, here is a good place to start and add some of those recommended in this post. 

    • #13
  14. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    Not all new stuff is unworthy. Try this.

    You’re absolutely right about Stapleton.  He’s an exception that proves the rule.  When “Starting Over” comes on the radio when I’m in the car, I’m like a shipwreck victim who finds some debris to cling to.  But then that song ends, and the next one comes on and it’s back to, “Let’s put on t-shirts, sit out in our lawn chairs, and drink some beer ’cause we’re so country!” and I die again inside.

    His song “Either Way,” which I did actually hear on the radio (but only one time!) is a brutal take on a failing marriage.  Chorus:  “We can just go on like this / Or say the word, we’ll call it quits/ Baby, you can go, you can stay / But I won’t love you either way.”  Classic country style.  In fairness, I did mention him in the post, and pointed out that he, too, is from Eastern Kentucky.

    One other exception comes to mind.  A recent song called “Die From a Broken Heart,” by Maddie & Tae (last names unknown), which I think is ok quality-wise, gets played a lot and is definitely a classic-style country song.

    But that’s it.  The rest of it is terrible.

    • #14
  15. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    She (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    Not all new stuff is unworthy. Try this.

    I love Chris Stapleton. In fact I just heard that one on the radio.

    I have to confess that I like a lot of the new country. But when I make up my own playlist it’s mostly the oldies:

    Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Loretta, Buck Owens, etc. I’m partial to Dwight Yoakam and Merle Haggard – not really oldies.

    I really enjoyed the series PBS did last year on country music. I think it was 12 or 13 two hour episodes.

    I enjoyed it too.

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters: I don’t know much, but I do know that “Today’s Hot Country Music” is an abominable soulless mass of bland generic garbage, full of cliches and put-on accents, and so devoid of anything worthy of attention that I can’t even enjoy hating it. All the songs are like little musicalized Facebook posts, a dispiriting pile of vapidity and artistic apathy unrivaled in the history of Western Civilization. My wife will listen to nothing else.

    Wonderful paragraph.

    And a wonderful post. Thanks.

    Agree. Thanks.

    I like real music, sung by real people playing real instruments, rather than heavily modified, tracks-laid-down-on-top-of-each-other synthesized stuff. Am fond of Catherine McClellan, a Prince Edward Island musician, and the daughter of Gene (Snowbird, Put Your Hand in the Hand) McClellan.

    That’s beautiful.  I have never heard of her.  I’ll have to look her up.  Thanks!

    • #15
  16. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    D.A. Venters: to recommending more pleasant alternatives

    Like having one’s fingernails pulled out.

    • #16
  17. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    My daughter hates country music.   She heard Elvis and Johnny Cash from a young age.   Loves both Elvis and Johnny Cash.  Denies that they have anything to do with country music.  Gotta admit, neither would make it on Today’s Hot Country.

    • #17
  18. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Gotta admit,  “Beer in Mexico” by Kenny Chesney sounds real good when working in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in February.

    • #18
  19. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Tom Petty said that new country was just bad rock music with a fiddle.

     

    • #19
  20. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    I listen to Radio New Braunfels KNBT FM 98.1 (they have a streaming app).  They call it Americana Music, but it’s a mix of country, western swing, blue grass, local Texas, new bands and old groups.  Give it a try.

     

    https://radionb.com

    • #20
  21. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    I’ve heard some great new songs recently, and less of that trashy “bro” country. For example, I love, love, love that song “Startin’ Over,” posted above.  That’s my song.  And I heard one a few months ago about a girl who is introducing her boyfriend to the family and telling him about all the unique ways they will love him, and how if he breaks up with her, her heart won’t be the only heart he’s breaking. It reminds me of my parents and how sweetly they love the men my sister and I ended up with. I would like to hear more of that artist. They are bringing more Tim McGraw back, too, and I sure like him a lot better than those sleazy performers. 

    Here is my top country hits bingo card from a few years ago, when it was just about ALL “bro:” 

    CountryHitsBingo

    • #21
  22. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Just tell me Alan Jackson is still OK.

    • #22
  23. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    History is a spiral. We are back around to country music being “mainstreamed” to its artistic detriment because, again, the rest of popular music has drifted far enough away from a large enough audience segment to create a vacuum. See the 1970s to 1990s. In 1981 we got the reaction “I was country when country wasn’t cool.” In the 1990s, we got the gentle mockery of musicians from other genres deciding the grass was greener, like the dollar bills, in the country hills, so they “gone country.”

    She’s been readin’ about Nashville and all the records that everybody’s buying
    Says, I’m a simple girl myself, grew up on Long Island
    . . .

    He says, I don’t believe in money, but a man could make him a killin’
    ‘Cause some of that stuff don’t sound much different than Dylan

    . . .

    He commutes to L.A., but he’s got a house in the Valley
    But the bills are piling up and the pop scene just ain’t on the rally

    . . .

    Yeah, he’s gone country, a new kind of walk
    He’s gone country, a new kind of talk
    He’s gone country, look at them boots
    He’s gone country, oh, back to his roots

    Given the huge bandwidth of digital media, from downloads to streaming services, there is room for better music to find an audience and vice versa, so this original post is ultimately hopeful.

    • #23
  24. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Oh, and I love the name “Old Dominion” for a country band, and can’t get enough of their “One Man Band” song. 

    • #24
  25. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Just tell me Alan Jackson is still OK.

    Alan Jackson is definitely still ok. Midnight in Montgomery, Here in the Real World, Drive.

    He does some sappy sweet stuff too, but I’ll admit that Remember When is best listened to when you’re alone, for the sake of your dignity. So no one sees you sobbing like a child, is what I’m saying.

    • #25
  26. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Just tell me Alan Jackson is still OK.

    Alan Jackson is definitely still ok. Midnight in Montgomery, Here in the Real World, Drive.

    He does some sappy sweet stuff too, but I’ll admit that Remember When is best listened to when you’re alone, for the sake of your dignity. So no one sees you sobbing like a child, is what I’m saying.

    Dang dust storm keeps getting through the windows.

    • #26
  27. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):
    I’ll admit that Remember When is best listened to when you’re alone, for the sake of your dignity. So no one sees you sobbing like a child, is what I’m saying.

    I’ve always liked “Remember When.”  I’ve heard that I’m not supposed to like it, but I can’t help it. 

    • #27
  28. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Just tell me Alan Jackson is still OK.

    Alan Jackson is definitely still ok. Midnight in Montgomery, Here in the Real World, Drive.

    He does some sappy sweet stuff too, but I’ll admit that Remember When is best listened to when you’re alone, for the sake of your dignity. So no one sees you sobbing like a child, is what I’m saying.

    If he only recorded “If French fries were fat free (and you still loved me),” he’d have a place in my heart.

    He does have something new out, and I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    • #28
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    This thread needs a bit of Guy Clark:

    And maybe some Tom Russell, too:

    • #29
  30. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    He does some sappy sweet stuff too, but I’ll admit that Remember When is best listened to when you’re alone, for the sake of your dignity. So no one sees you sobbing like a child, is what I’m saying.

    Watch Alan Jackson sing “He stopped loving her today” at the George Jones funeral concert. It’s on YouTube.

    I don’t know how he got through it.

    • #30