“That’s Not Country”

This is an article that I’ve wanted to write for a long time. I just haven’t had the energy to sit down and actually do it, until now. I’ve finally heard enough. Just some fair warning, this could easily turn into a rant… You’d have to be living under a rock to not hear the never ending cries of “this isn’t country!”  You can’t read comments on a Facebook post about country artists without “they aren’t country” comments all over the place.  Country entertainment site Whiskey Riff even has a satirical t-shirt that says, “That’s not country” because it’s gotten so out of control.

Sam Hunt isn’t country because he wears funky clothes and a flat bill hat. Kelsea Ballerini reminds people of Taylor Swift, so clearly she’s not country. Forget the fact that Hunt is from middle of nowhere Georgia, and has written songs of which no one would argue the “country-ness value.” [“Come Over” recorded by Kenny Chesney, and “We Are Tonight” recorded by Billy Currington to name a few.]  Miss Ballerini hails from Knoxville, TN, which isn’t exactly NYC. None of that matters – they aren’t country. Has the sound of modern day country changed from the sounds of the legends? Absolutely. Is it better? Is it worse?

People argue that current stars are a disgrace to Waylon, Johnny, even King George. People want 90s country where Shania reigned as Queen. You know what? Shania sounds nothing like Johnny Cash, yet people consider both to be country. I grew up listening to Reba, George Strait, and The Judds, and yet somehow I’m able to love the disgrace that is known as Sam Hunt… Clearly there’s some sarcasm there, but the point is clear. There is a way to enjoy all varieties of country music.

My biggest problem with this whole argument is the fact that artists are being torn to shreds by “fans.” If you don’t like hearing Florida Georgia Line, change the dang channel! If you like it, turn it up and enjoy. Not a single person is forcing you to listen to something you hate. Between traditional radio, XM radio, iTunes, Spotify, & Pandora your song options are endless… Support the artists you like, but don’t bash those you dislike. These “non-country” artists work their butts off to get where they are. One of my favorites, April Kry, recently posted this on her Twitter:

 

I couldn’t like that enough! Just give it a chance… You still don’t like it? Change the channel and move on. Can we all just agree to stop crying about something not being country, and tearing these hard working artists apart?

I’ll end with this. I took this photo of a wall in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and I just love the quote.

Stefanie Richardson

Stefanie Richardson

I was born & raised in Orlando, FL. I love living here, but my dream and goal is to be in Nashville sooner rather than later.. I grew up on country music and remember riding around in my dad’s truck singing along to Reba, The Judds, and of course King George. Pure Country was a movie that played often in our house. These days, I absolutely love following “up and coming” artists. Anyone who knows me knows that Cale Dodds is my favorite; and when he’s touring anywhere in the southeast, I’m at his show. I love everything about country music; the way artists appreciate their fan base, the loyalty the fans show their favorite performers, and how it brings people together. I can thank country music for allowing me to meet some awesome people, and some who have become dear friends.

5 thoughts on ““That’s Not Country”

  • July 26, 2017 at 9:40 am
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    Great article. So true. Country music evolves, just like rock and roll. If it didn’t, everything would sound like Granda Jones or Roy Acuff. Does Reba sound like Minnie Pearl? No. Is there anything wrong with either of them? No. It’s just the way music changes over time. It’s still country.

    Same thing with rock music. Think of how that’s changed over time, and been accepted by various subsets of rock fans; Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Led Zeppelin to U2 to Metallica to Linkin Park to Korn. Do Elvis and Korn sound anything alike? Hardly!! Yet both are considered rock, just grouped into different sub-genres. I think it’s time country music gets legitimate sub-genres of it’s own. “Bro-country” NOT being one of them. That title, while widely recognized, tends to throw negative light on a group of artists that so many fans truly adore. A much better term could be coined, I’m sure.

    Sorry for the long reply, but I loved your piece and I feel passionate about the topic as well. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there.

    Reply
    • Admin
      August 1, 2017 at 6:07 pm
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      Well said! Thank you so much for the kind words and taking the time to reply.

      Reply
  • July 27, 2017 at 1:34 pm
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    Great article, all genres change with time, why people can’t come to grips with that fact is a mystery to me. Enjoy what you like,…there’s something for everyone in today’s Country Music World!!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2017 at 6:46 pm
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    I think this article sums it up perfectly, don’t listen to it if you don’t like it but all artists put a lot of time and effort in and deserve respect. I live in the UK and am a fan of British and American country music. If i like it i listen to it and someone telling me it’s not like it used to be or it’s not country has no effect on me. Long live country music and non country music if thats what you want to call it !!

    Reply

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