I don’t think I could do it over and over, because how many times can you push the envelope? How many times can you grow? When I get to that point when we’re not doing that anymore, I don’t care to make records.
I could ask what’s wrong with not pushing the envelope, as when that seems to be your raison d’être as an artist, it really makes the artistry wear thin. I keep thinking of George Strait, who’s made a 30-year career — made himself a country music legend, practically synonymous with the term “country music” — pretty much by not “pushing the envelope.” You can say the same about the likes of Alan Jackson, even though his radio career might not have lasted as long, or Merle Haggard, or George Jones, and the list goes on. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding a style of music and sticking to it. In fact, such is far preferable to trying to reinvent oneself with each record, as the latter would imply that you’re not really sure of who you are as an artist. Not only that, there’s always the risk of alienating your core audience. God knows I’ve talked about “evolving” away from your core sound enough as far as heavy metal goes, but it happens in country, too, one of the perfect examples being Reba McEntire. I don’t know for sure that you could have called her the female version of George Strait back when she started, but she and he were both pretty close together as far as their styles went back in the day — but she slowly got away from that over the years, to the point that she was singing pop-country crap about texting and tweeting.
I suppose that may not be fair to Church — he might well have a keen sense of his artistry, and since he doesn’t seem to have a “core sound” he might well not have to worry about alienating anyone — but considering everything he has said about what he wants to do with his music so far, even if he does have a keen sense of his artistry, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement as far as his place in country music is concerned.
(h/t Country California)