Monday, November 17, 2014

1985, Bros, Outlaws & Where the Girls Are

It's gonna seem like I'm chasing rabbits on this one, Y'all... but hang with me... it will eventually all make sense..  I promise!!



We'll start out with some noteable events that occurred in 1985:
  • Microsoft Corporation releases the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0.
  • President Reagan and Soviet Leader Gorbachev meet for the first time in Switzerland.
  • Back To the Future hit theaters.
  • "We are the World" was recorded by various artists to raise money for famine in Africa.
  • Country Music died.

Wait, what??

Country music died.

Country music died?

That's what some people say....  (I won't mention their names, but they know who they are!!)

I know.  Troubling, right?? 

In actuality, I think they mean that country music died in 1989. Why 1989? Because this is the year that Garth Brooks entered the scene.  Many argue that this is when country lost a lot of it's roots in story telling, and simplistic melodies and harmonies and became more "pop" sounding... certainly, it was a huge time for country to cross-over into pop.

Then you have today's "bro-country" movement.  (Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Jason Aldean, to name a few...)  These are the artists that seem to be all about drinking, and trucks, and barefoot girls in cut-off jeans and bikini tops, partying in the backwoods every Friday and Saturday night. 

I must argue here, however, that according to David Allen Coe, the "perfect country song" has to be all about mama, trains, trucks, and getting drunk.... 
Well I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick her up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in a pickup truck
She got run'd over by a damned old train - You Never Even Call Me By My Name

So I guess the "Bros" have part of it right! 

You also have a few artists that are trying to revive the  "outlaw" movement.  Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert, and Justin Moore not only make many references to Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings their music,  they also claim to be the "bad boys' of country; calling out to "put a little old back in the new school" and for a "Country music Jesus to come and save us all". Even Kenny Chesney has titled his most recent album "Revival" and Blake Shelton (who, in my humble opinion, stays closest to the roots of country in his artistry) is "Bringing Back the Sunshine".

The saddest statement of all for modern country music, for me, is the absence of strong females. With the exception of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, they are pretty scarce.  Oh you still have Faith and Sarah Evans,  and even little Kasey Musgraves... but where are the Martina McBrides? The Reba McEntires? The Barbara Mandrells? (Yes, I said it... BARBARA MANDRELL!! She was country when country wasn't cool!) The Judds? Trisha Yearwood? 

At least Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, and Little Big Town have strong female leads, so I guess that counts for something.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not mad.  I actually like most of today's country.  But I will concede... traditional country it is NOT.  

So, is country music dead
Or has it simply evolved? 
And if evolved, then, is it still even country

I'm really not trying to start a fight... I'm just trying to figure it all out... These are the things I go to bed thinking about at night, people!! Just wanted you to share in my contemplation....

Feel free to weigh in.... I want to know what you think!! ;-)
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