Last night, the American Country Music Awards was on television, hosted for the 16 year in a row by the talented Reba McEntire.
I did not watch the awards program but hearing about it did get me to thinking about what has been going on in the field of Country Music for the last several years.
FoxNews.com reports that
John Rich is weighing in on the musical controversy surrounding “Old Town Road” and whether or not it deserves to live among country music’s biggest hits.
The country music star stopped by the Brian Kilmeade Show on Fox Nation on Friday and explained that while country music carries a certain feeling, ultimately it is up to the fans to decide if what they’re hearing warrants the genre’s stamp of approval.
“Let the fans decide. I mean, country music – I go back to guys like Johnny Cash when he showed up in Nashville, they said that is not country music,” the Big & Rich crooner told Kilmeade. “The guy made his records in Memphis where rock and roll was happening – he’s got his hair slicked back, he’s singing about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Johnny Cash, most hardcore lyrics anybody had ever heard – he’s not country – now Johnny Cash, a pillar of country music.”
When probed on whether or not he felt the smash was country-worthy, Rich noted that his concern is centered on the seriousness of an artist’s desire to be a country act, as opposed to the sound of a singular record.
“I don’t like people that try to piggyback on real country music,” said Rich. “So, I think if you really want to be a country artist, then be one – come to Nashville, write your music, really come up with something that’s fitting somewhere around country music.”
The Redneck Riviera Whisky owner continued: “Big & Rich is you know; – a lot of people said we weren’t country because we came out with ‘Save A Horse, [Ride A Cowboy],’ but I guaran-damn-tee you we’re country. Now they know it.”
Since being delisted from the country charts, Lil Nas X has pulled out all the stops to convince naysayers that his viral hit should be recognized by the industry.
Now, in a plea to the masses, Nas X has enlisted country music star Billy Ray Cyrus to lend his gritty sound to the rap/country crossover that juxtaposes Western and cowboy-themed imagery to a trap-style beat.
“I loved the song the first time I heard it. Country music fans decide what they like. Not critics or anyone else,” Cyrus told Rolling Stone in an interview published on Wednesday. “Waylon Jennings once told me every once in a while the industry outlaws someone because they’re different. Country music fans don’t need to be defined by critics. I’ve always said, don’t think inside the box, don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box. So, I’m honored to collaborate with Lil Nas X on ‘Old Town Road.’”
However, since debuting at No. 19 on Billboard’s Hot Country chart nearly a month ago, the publication elected to strike the record from the charts, claiming that the catchy tune “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
“Old Town Road” remains on rap/hip hop charts and reached 32 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart. The music video on YouTube features clips from the videogame “Red Dead Redemption 2,” and has received more than 15 million views, with 426,000 likes.
Shortly after the song was dropped, the rapper posted a headline of the news on his Instagram page, writing: “extremely disappointed,” along with a “sadface” emoji.
The song has since spawned dance videos and received a shout-out on social media from Justin Bieber. Texas Tech’s Final Four-bound basketball team even posted a video of the team dancing to the song in the locker room and country singer Jake Owen tweeted at the rapper, saying he wanted to jam with him.
Billboard got it right the first time: Lil Nas X AIN’T COUNTRY.
The East Cost/Left Coast Power Brokers have done to Country Music exactly what they did to Classical Liberalism.
They have jettisoned Traditional American Faith and Values for a shallow hedonistic conflagration of drinkin’, cheatin’, partyin’, and Liberal Politics, changing an entire music genre into something that it never was and was never meant to be.
On this Mississippi April Morning, just a few miles away from Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, I sit here reflecting on the influence which actual Country Music had on my young life, growing up with my Mother and Daddy.
Every family, to this day, has rituals that they observe like clockwork.
Our Saturday Night Ritual was to eat homemade hamburgers, spaghetti, or crockpot beans off of TV trays and watch Hee Haw, the syndicated country music variety show, out of Nashville, which starred Buck Owens, Roy Clark, and a “cast of thousands”.
The snotty folks up in the Northeast Corridor and Hollyweird never could figure out what made that “hick show”, that lasted 25 years, so popular.
After all, it was about traditional American Values, love of God and Country, respecting our American Musical Heritage, and featured talented performers who wrote songs, sang, played their own instruments, loved and appreciated their fans, and actually behaved like average Americans.
Plus, they had the good grace and common sense to keep their private lives, private.
A rapper and the father of a Former Disney Star who has been around more times than the turnstiles at Disney World are hardly iconic examples of Country Music performers.
At this time in our country’s history, when morality has become relative and ethics situational, we find our hearts crying out to hear something that will soothe our troubled souls.
Instead, we find synthesized, mass-produced Pop Music and “so-called” Country Music, actually more Pop Music, manufactured in New York City (pronounced like they do in the Pace Salsa Commercials), advocating meaningless one-night stands and encouraging the debasement of the human soul, instead of its ability to rise above any obstacle in its path that might hinder individual achievement.
With all of today’s over-produced, under-written Pop and Country-Pop Music flooding the airwaves of both broadcast and satellite radio, Americans my age wonder where all the great Country Songwriters and Performers have gone to?
What is happening to country music reflects a lot about the culture we live in. Artists who actually lived what they sung about like Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, The Statlers, Jim Ed Brown, Porter Waggoner, Hank Williams, Jr., Randy Travis, Jeannie C. Riley, and Elvis Presley have been replaced by fashion models and wannabe rappers and rock stars.
Please don’t get me wrong.
There are still Americans performing country music. Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Clint Black, Brooks and Dunn (who are back together and appearing with Reba in Las Vegas), and Rascal Flatts, among others, are still attempting to keep the spirit of Country Music alive.
However, in our culture of fast lives, fast food, and instant gratification, superficiality sells. That’s how we got stuck for 8 long years with Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm).
It is easier and more profitable for a record company to sell someone who looks good and can sing a little, or to release a country music album made by a fading rock star, than it is for them to market someone who is unbelievably talented and writes their own songs, but who resembles your next door neighbor.
Remember the Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison Country Music CD fiascos?
No? I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t admit it, either.
Can you imagine Hank Williams, Sr., Patsy Cline, or Buck Owens trying to get a record deal today?
I’m sorry Mr. Williams. Your vocalization is way too twangy and you drink way too much. “I Saw The Light”? What kind of song is that? A song about redemption? Get real. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”? Who Cares? You’re just not marketable.
Ms. Cline, we can’t use you. You look like somebody’s next door neighbor.
Mr. Owens, what is the “Bakersfield Sound” that you’re talking about? That won’t get any airtime in New York City. “Act Naturally”? That’s a song? Next thing you know, you’ll tell me that the Beatles will want to record it.
Now you know why Toby Keith formed his own record label.
The big recording companies like RCA Nashville and Arista are run like any other business. Executives are transferred from other cities and other divisions within the company and are judged to be successful by the amount of revenue they generate.
The decision was made several years ago to turn country music into pop music. Country Music started the transition from Kitty Wells to Taylor Swift and from George Jones to Kid Rock in an effort to claim a bigger share of the CD-buying public.
The disconnect arises when you take a genre that has traditionally sung about God, America, family, and heartache and try to make it about fashionistas, MTV, and shallow people with situational morality and ethics.
Just like the Liberal Politics of the outspoken harpies, the Dixie Chicks, it just doesn’t work here in America’s Heartland.
…As was proven on November 8, 2016.
As we say in Dixie,
That dog don’t hunt.
Alan Jackson and George Strait were prophets.
Nobody saw him running from sixteenth avenue
They never found the fingerprint or the weapon that was used
But someone killed country music, cut out its heart and soul
They got away with murder down on music row
The almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame
Slowly killed tradition and for that someone should hang
They all say not guilty, but the evidence will show
That murder was committed down on music row
For the steel guitars no longer cry and fiddles barely play
But drums and rock ‘n’ roll guitars are mixed up in your face
Old Hank wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio
Since they committed murder, down on music row
They thought no one would miss it, once it was dead and gone
They said no one would buy them old drinking and cheating songs
Well I’ll still buy ’em
Well there ain’t no justice in it and the hard facts are cold
Murder’s been committed, down on music row
Oh, the steel guitars no longer cry and you can’t hear fiddles play
With drums and rock ‘n roll guitars mixed right up in your face
Why, the hag, he wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio
Since they committed murder down on music row
Why, they even tell the posse to pack up and go back home
There’s been an awful murder down on music row
“Murder on Music Row”. George Strait/Alan Jackson, 2000
Please excuse my grammar,
But, what the East and Left Coast Liberals have done to “Country Music” today, ain’t just murder.
It’s a MASSACRE.
Until He Comes,