I would like to thank Eric Church for giving me yet another exhibit to submit whenever I talk about how I think artists who downplay the concept of genres do so solely to further their own ends:
I happen to feel that genres are gone in music. I just think that with the digital age, whether it’s satellite radio, terrestrial radio, Pandora, whatever, there are no more genres….
Wait, what? No more genres with satellite radio? That sound you hear is me rolling my eyes at Church’s ignorance on display here. If anything, satellite radio in general only serves better those of us who still think the concept of genres still has some utility, because it carves music up into categories even more than terrestrial radio does. And the same goes for Pandora, albeit not to the same extent. If you want to hear real country music and not ’80s-rock retreads, it’s going to be a lot easier to do that on satellite or Pandora than it is pretty much anywhere else.
And speaking of ’80s rock retreads, we have this, from reality-show hack Tate Stevens…
The Jason Aldeans, the Brantley Gilberts–they’re bringing that rock element to country music. It broadens the whole thing, which is awesome. So you’ll hear some guitar tones and sounds that are like that ’80s rock–late ’70s, ’80s, the Journeys, the Foreigners, that kind of REO Speedwagon sound. I love that stuff.
(Good grief, what it is with jackasses named Tate?)
So, here we have these people who cut their teeth on Journey and Foreigner instead of Ricky Skaggs and George Strait making “country” music, and Tate Stevens apparently thinks this is a good thing. I really don’t know what to say here that I haven’t already said before, but that it strikes me that Bob McDill’s mid-1990s lament is still just as valid as it ever was, even if the people perpetrating this fraud never tried their hand in other genres before. And I find this especially distasteful in the wake of George Jones’ death.
But Holly Gleason distilled all the arguments about old vs. new country right down to their essence here:
Do we need old school country music? Hard to say. But you listen to the processed, bulked up steroidal arena country, then put on “When the Grass Grows Over Me.” Feel the difference and decide which has the most immediacy, the most charisma, the most punch to the stomach. It won’t take but a bar or two.
(h/t Country California)