So, did you know Huey Lewis was a country music fan? Yeah, me neither. I can hardly wait to see what certain people have to say about this:
Is country music something you’ve ever been into? Have people approached you about doing a country album?
Yes, I’ve had people approach me about it. But I don’t sing country music very good. I sing soul music….
You say you don’t have a traditional country voice, but you could say the same thing about Lionel Richie or Darius Rucker or any of these other pop or rock artists who’ve moved on to do country.
Yeah, I don’t like that stuff, though. That’s not country to me. I love Darius Rucker, he’s a great guy, I know him a little bit, we play golf. But that’s … eh. I need Merle, the real old-school stuff. I’m a purist that way. (laughs) Modern country leaves me cold. It all sounds like bad arena rock to me.
I could always take or leave most of Huey Lewis’ stuff, but I gotta respect him for that. Seems like so many stars past their heyday are “going country” anymore, with varying results. But here we are with Lewis, who seems to have more respect for country music than most of the artists who claim to make it anymore, not going for it. I wish more artists had that kind of integrity. (And major props to him for referencing a rather obscure Merle Haggard song!)
Speaking of integrity, or the lack thereof, we have this, from Clay Walker:
From a mainstream recording perspective, traditional country music is dead. If you’re going to be part of the industry, then you have to adapt to the new world, or be born into it. I’ve realized the music I’m going to make in the future is not going to be the music I’ve made in the past, and that’s the way you survive.
Well, what to say to this? I really don’t know. Is traditional country music dead in the mainstream? I didn’t really think it was; I figured what we were dealing with was one of those periodic swings of popularity. I remember seeing the same thing in the late 1990s, with the popularity of artists like Shania Twain and Faith Hill. Granted, no one was saying traditional country music was dead then, but there was quite a bit of angst in the country music community about that. And then, a few years later, Alan Jackson was hitting the top of the Billboard 200, and George Strait did the same thing on multiple occasions through the 2000s. But then there are those who say that we’re dealing with a sea change in the way the music sounds. That may well be true, but even so, saying that “traditional country music is dead from a mainstream recording perspective” strikes me as a copout. Looks like Clay Walker may well be taking the path trod by Tracy Lawrence, and that’s just really disheartening…
(h/t Country California)