Gateway what? In what universe?

Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles:

We are the gateway drug in country music.

Gateway to what, exactly? I don’t think she quite understands how that whole concept is supposed to work. Somehow I don’t think people who are introduced to the genre via Sugarland are going to end up being fans of people like Merle Haggard and George Strait. I’d be willing to bet you that most of their fans lean towards the exact kind of music that they make: country music for people who don’t like country music. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Say what you will about Metallica’s self-titled 1991 album, but it bore at least a passing resemblance to what they were doing before with songs like “Holier Than Thou” and “Through the Never.” I loved both of those songs, so it was only natural that I’d like the band’s earlier stuff, as well as all its contemporaries like Megadeth, Queensryche and Iron Maiden. So you could say that album was my gateway drug to traditional ’80s metal. But Sugarland’s music has absolutely zero connection to anything that has previously fallen under the umbrella of country music, citations of Johnny Cash as an influence notwithstanding. Jennifer Nettles saying Sugarland is a gateway drug to country music is like, oh, I don’t know, Rob Halford saying Judas Priest is a gateway drug to folk music.

Speaking of gateway drugs, a little story: The whole getting into Metallica’s back catalog happened quite by accident. A guy I worked with back in Port Arthur, one day, was asking me what kinds of music I had in my collection. He mentioned Slayer, Pantera & Metallica, as I recall. I told him I had the black album, and he said, “Aw, man, everybody’s got that! You should go get Master of Puppets!” I eventually did, but only after I picked up Ride the Lightning. 😉 Loved ’em both; they were among the first cds I ripped to iTunes…

…but in a way I almost wish it was Queensryche’s Empire I had picked up, and that he had mentioned them instead of Metallica (and any of the three albums before Empire as opposed to MoP); I probably would have gone and gotten them, which would have made it easier for me to appreciate Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden more right off the bat considering the similarities between him and Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate. I actually picked up The Number of the Beast in mid-2005, listened to it a couple of times and put it on the shelf because I didn’t quite go for his vocals. (Which is strange, because I always loved how Geoff Tate sounded on “Jet City Woman.”) It was only after I heard the songs from that cd on Sirius that I started to appreciate them more. Weird, I know, but there you go…

(h/t Country California)



4 Responses to “Gateway what? In what universe?”

  1. BobG Says:

    I always felt that Sugarland was more cow-pop than country.

  2. AlanDP Says:

    Maybe she means they smell strange and listening to them makes you stupid.

  3. Albatross Says:

    Maybe she means they smell strange and listening to them makes you stupid.


  4. Living Out Here Says:

    She looks good but just the sound of her twangy voice drives me nuts. It may be her real voice/accent, but it sounds like she is exaggerating what she believes a typical Country singer should sound like.

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