The CMA Awards are coming up this wednesday night. It's usually billed as "Country Music's Biggest Night". Well, for that to be true, I think there'd actually need to be some "country" music involved, right?
I give a big standing ovation to Country icon George Jones for having the balls to speak up on that subject: George Jones: New Country Music Needs A New Name
He's absolutely right. There's no "country" left in today's Mainstream Country Music. I cringe to even add the word "country" in that title. I can count on one hand the number of artists that make up today's Mainstream Country Music who actually have a hint of 'Country' to their music. Let's see: George Strait, Alan Jackson, a little bit of Brad Paisley (however, his music keeps morphing to mainstream and losing its country feel more each time out), Joey + Rory, The Wrights (does radio play them anymore?), and ... is there anyone else? That barely fills up the fingers on one hand.
I think George explained it well in that interview: - "They had to use something that was established already, and that's traditional country music." -
That's exactly what I've been saying for the past two decades. "Country" is the easiest genre for an artist to get their name in the spotlight. Once their name is established, they get the liberty to make any kind of music they want and Mainstream Country Radio will play it because the Teeny-boppers will listen to it, as long as the artists are cute enough. And how many of the Mainstream Country artists of today can actually play an instrument, let alone write a country song?
The sad thing is - the people who actually sing & play real country music are still out there. They've just been pushed back behind the curtain. Thankfully, with the advanced technology of this age, fans of the real country sound are able to at least find some of them. Matraca Berg, Kelly Willis, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Patty Loveless, Todd Fritsch, Ryan Bingham, and oh so many more.
You might think that I hate the Mainstream Country Music of today. That's absolutely untrue. I love quite a bit of the music that's released by those artists. What I highly object to is them actually calling it "country" music. As George said, give the music its own name and let "country" music get its identity back. What is the identity of country music? Well... that's for another rant all by itself.