If I am “Male Vocalist of the Year” that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on. Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, “My God, that ain’t country!” Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.
We’ll just leave alone that cute little misconception that those figurative circle jerks (aka awards) mean anything significant…
Here Blake Shelton goes, putting forth the blatantly false idea that real country music fans don’t want the genre to evolve. I don’t know about you, but the main complaint I have with modern Nashville music — yes, I refuse to call it country, and if that pusbag Shelton has a problem with that he can come on down to San Antonio and tell me to my face…where was I?
Oh yeah. The problem with modern Nashville music is that it’s not really an evolution of country as it is a mutation and bastardization of it, with no connection to the genre whatsoever. And you can take Eric Church as a perfect example of this, with his talk about the rock and metal bands he and his contemporaries listened to as they grew up, with nary a word about Waylon, Willie, George, or Merle. On the other hand, anyone who knows country music knows that folks like Willie and Merle, along with later singers like Alan Jackson and George Strait, had always been country music fans. (In fact, Merle Haggard recorded tributes to not one but two country music icons — Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills.) But do you hear any of George Strait’s influence in the music of people like Jason Aldean or Hunter Hayes? No, of course you don’t.
And it’s really odd, because I can’t think of any other genre that’s evolved through the years to the point that a sizable number of its audience would say “that’s not (insert genre here).” Let’s just take metal, as a f’rinstance. I know (online) a fair number of metal fans, and they’ve been metal fans going all the way back to Black Sabbath. I have yet to hear them deriding any modern metal band as not being true to the genre. And there’s a good reason for that — you take, for example, Iron Maiden’s 1984 album Powerslave and put it up next to Symphony X’s 2011 album Iconoclast, and even with their differences, if you know metal, you’d walk away thinking of both those albums, “Hey, now that’s metal.”
On the other hand — let’s just give modern country an unfair advantage, take Rascal Flatts’ eponymous debut album from 13 years ago, and compare it to George Strait’s 1984 album Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind.
The George Strait record? “Whoa, that’s country, hoss.”
Rascal Flatts? “So that’s what they’re calling country these days…”
Then there’s the cultural pervasiveness of pretty much any genre of music you care to name. People listen to music as they grow up, they pass that music on to their kids, the cycle starts over with those kids and their own music, and so it goes through the culture as the years go on. (I mean, I know I’m not the only mid-30s guy out there who listens to and likes Alice Cooper and Waylon Jennings.) Given that phenomenon, the statement about the kids not wanting to buy old music strikes me as rather ignorant.
In other words, it’s exactly what we should expect from the likes of Mr. Shelton.