I apologize for the continuous beating of this particular horse, but this just had to be pointed out.
Point — Dallas Davidson:
I can’t write about things I don’t know about.
Counterpoint — Jason Isbell:
That’s something a songwriter needs to do: read. The best ones always do. Always. [...] It just teaches you how to tell a story, as long as you’re reading good shit. I don’t know if it’s gonna help if you read Twilight and 50 Shades Of Grey, but if you’ve got a lot of good stuff coming in – movies, books, even TV shows like Mad Men, which can weave a story as well as any Scorsese film from the ’70s – then good stuff is gonna come back out. That’s just how it works. You get to the point where you just understand how a good story is told, and how the best storytellers do it.
Counterpoint No. 2 — Sabra:
Tolkien didn’t have personal experience with dragons when he wrote The Hobbit. Steve Earle didn’t have personal experience with flying planes in WWII when he wrote “Johnny Come Lately.” There is no evidence Johnny Cash ever shot a man in Reno. Dallas Davidson is a halfwit.
Yes, he certainly is, every bit as vapid as the crap he writes. And really, I defy anyone to tell me that either Jason Isbell or Sabra is off-base. Hell, look at Kris Kristofferson, one of the most revered songwriters in not just country music, but American music, period. He was a damn Rhodes Scholar who got a bachelor of philosophy degree in English Lit. You know he had to read a shite-ton of stuff to do that.
And you know what all this goes back to, right? It goes back to what I said earlier about these songs reflecting badly on the genre — not only the genre, but also its audience. People are going to get the idea that country music is nothing but a bunch of shallow, sexist, good-time party music — and they’re also going to get the idea that that those of us who listen to it are ignorant and aliterate. Davidson and his ilk play right into it, as you see him talking about the fact that the majority of his time is spent doing the clichéd activities he writes his songs around.
Don’t get me wrong. I mean, I love things like pork butts and beer as much as the next redneck. But there’s more to life than that, and there ought to be more to country music than that.
And then, as Trigger and his commenters were discussing all this over at Saving Country Music, this guy popped up:
After reading through some of these comments. You “real” country fans are some of the whinest people I’ve ever come across. You’re really going to cry that you’re “losing” real country? Cry me a river, please….I’m a die hard Metal fan.
A metal fan telling country fans to shut up. I must admit I thought that was pretty damn rich. Why?
Because metalheads still have their genre, and all its associated subgenres. In fact, they know exactly what real country music fans are going through — because they already had their genre hijacked for commercial gain, before they eventually took it back after all the commercial crap was rejected. Instead of trucks and beer, they just had bands singing about, oh, I don’t know, looking for nothing but a good time with girls who were their cherry pie but gave love a bad name. So you’d think they’d be a bit more empathetic.
At any rate, when I was reading that and responding, it struck me. You know what the music of Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, et al. is, right? It’s country music’s version of glam metal — shallow, sexist music tailored for mass appeal. And you remember what happened when the commercial appeal of glam metal crashed, right? It took the rest of metal down with it. And yeah, the genre eventually came back, but it wasn’t nearly as successful as it was during its prime years during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It went back to being a niche genre at best, which it arguably was all along.
Will that happen with country music? That’s a really good question. It would certainly be preferable to the death of the genre that the Peach Pickers and the folks who keep recording their shit are doing their best to hasten.