Well, this is interesting:
One of the problems is writers tend to follow the trend. And that’s what’s happening right now with this so-called bro-country, party-country stuff. All the writers are jumping on that bandwagon, and I’m trying to encourage the writers, “OK I know that’s what’s going on right now, but we have to get ahead of that. We need to figure out what’s gonna set the trend, not follow the trend.” When I do get that stuff and I take it in to the record companies or play it for the producers or for an artist, the comment I get from them is, “We’ve already kind of got that. We need something different from that.” So again, trying to get the writers to understand, to come up with something different and unique and fresh is just an ongoing battle.
But wait! Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley told us that this stuff was fresh and real! I don’t know who this Sherrill Blackman person is, but he’s obviously not hip to the fact that country music is evolving and it’s not your grandfather’s music anymore! People don’t live real lives anymore! They don’t go to work every morning, home to their families every night or any of that! They don’t deal with aging, death, or any of that sad old fogey stuff! Life’s one big PARTY now, for everyone! Dude needs to get with the tiiiimes…
(Keith) Urban is an intelligent man, a genuine music fan and musician who, when you speak with him or hear him talk, doesn’t fake it. So how can he consistently sing the cavalcade of cliches which infest every corner of his lyrics and rob every single song of whatever genuine feeling it’s meant to be faking?
Good question. But when you think about it, it’s not that hard to answer. When he’s talking about country music, at least, Keith Urban might sound smart, but as you well know if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, virtually none of his arguments hold up beyond even the most cursory of examinations. Of course, it doesn’t help him that he makes the same argument over and over about countrypolitan, the Nashville Sound, etc. in the context of country music’s supposed “evolution.” But if he was as smart as he can ostensibly manage to make people think he is, this wouldn’t be happening.
All of those weak arguments, of course, aren’t meant to do anything but counter people’s arguments that Urban himself isn’t that country, if indeed he’s country at all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he has absolutely no sense of musical identity. He claims to be influenced by all these different genres, and I suppose he is — but past a certain point, which Urban passed a long time ago, it all gets to sounding like, for lack of a better term, elevator music, with no personality and no soul.
Now, how he gets up there and sings that tripe night after night as if he actually believes in it, I really couldn’t tell you. I’m still trying to figure that one out. Maybe Keith Urban has no personality or soul himself.
Thomas Rhett needs to just go the fuck away. Sort of like disco did go away. And that’s really all I have to say about that. Seriously, it’s like I have this line from “Hank” (recorded by Jason Boland and the Stragglers and Eleven Hundred Springs) running through my head on a continuous loop anymore:
“Gram Parsons used to sing about the streets of Baltimore. But honest words and simple rhymes don’t sell much anymore.”
Speaking of which, I didn’t hear GP’s version of that song for years. I think Bobby Bare has the more famous recording, but I think I actually like Parsons’ version better.
(h/t Country California)