I think that the key is respecting the roots and traditions of country music and always putting value in that, but country radio has really opened its arms to other influences. It’s been really cool to me to watch someone like Sam Hunt, whose lyrics and roots are in country but you can hear that he listens to Drake and Justin Timberlake — and that’s OK. It allows songwriters to be more honest, because it’s like, “This is who I’m listening to.”
This is, in a word, crap. Prime example: Aaron Watson listens to Sam Hunt. He straight-up admitted to Saving Country Music that he had Hunt’s album and that he thought it was good, even as in the same sentence he said it was the most un-country thing he’d ever heard. Yet if you listen to even The Underdog, even at its poppiest, you’re not going to hear anything that sounds like Sam Hunt. Why? Because Aaron Watson is a country music singer and he’s not ashamed of it. Granted, he’s not my favorite non-Nashville guy (that honor goes to Jason Boland), but even so, I’d still be very hard pressed to say that Watson didn’t love country music with every fiber of his being or that he was being even slightly dishonest with his fans by not sounding anything like Sam Hunt.
But I am not the least surprised with such self-serving claptrap coming from an early-Taylor-Swift wannabe like Kelsea Ballerini, who seems to be only trying to make a name for herself in country music because she couldn’t hack it as a pop singer right off the bat.
I really wanted to believe Jody Rosen was trolling Grady Smith here…
Mainstream country, it’s smart music. Even if it’s a big dumb song about kicking the dust up or whatever, it’s very intelligently done.
…but unfortunately, he appeared to be deadly serious. I don’t know. I guess that tripe is smartly done in that the writers figure out what the most lucrative demographic likes and then give it to them, but then when you look at it that way, that seems to imply that all the people outside mainstream music that isn’t writing about trucks, beer, and girls are the dumb ones — and surely I don’t have to spell out the obvious problem with that.
On a more positive note, via Galleywinter on Facebook, today marks the 11-year anniversary of the release date of the Randy Rogers Band’s Rollercoaster — a seminal Texas music album if ever there was one. I actually discovered that album in 2008, strangely enough as I was looking for another piece of red dirt music (Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Garage, for the curious), and I was floored at how great it was — not that I’d have expected anything different with the writers on that album (Rogers, Cody Canada, Radney Foster, and Kent Finlay, among others). I bought it for “Tonight’s Not the Night,” but I also really liked “Somebody Take Me Home,” Finlay’s “They Call It The Hill Country,” and the RRB versions of “Again” and “This Time Around.”
I thought it was pretty funny that “This Time Around” was on that album, because the Ragweed version of that song was the reason I was looking for Garage….