From my earliest days I connected to country music and I’ve never really fully understood why. I have never frequented a honky-tonk, but loved to hear both Hank Sr. and Jr. sing about them. Drinking and cheating have never attracted me, but George Jones singing about them did. I enjoy listening to Loretta; The Man in Black; Merle Haggard; Willie, Waylon and the boys. I embraced Alabama when they burst on the country scene and shook it up. Of course, I am a fan of George Strait and Alan Jackson.
But now, my radio is rarely tuned to a country music station. Country music has lost me.
Here is why:
- Lack of authenticity. I really feel personally conflicted on this one. On one hand I do not want to see anyone suffer. On the other hand, the best country music has seemed to flow out of life struggles. George and Tammy sang what they lived. Bocephus and his “young country” rockabilly outlaws passionately lived and sang from their souls. Toby Keith had a little hopeful run, but now it all seems plastic and pre-recorded.
- Pop influence. What I hear on country music radio sounds like pop music with a touch of the steel guitar. Nashville has gone Hollywood.
- Fake Twangs. I am not saying that all country music singers must come from the southern part of the United States, but at least in this part of the world our twangs are genuine.
- Wrong demographic. This really may be the reason behind the reasons. I am now too old to relate to teenagers singing about breaking up with boyfriends.
- It just “ain’t” country. At least not what I grew up with and enjoy. Yep things change and evolve. Some change and evolve with it. Others become dinosaurs like me and get left behind.
I think of one of the Possum’s songs. His reflection and question about long-gone country music legends (of which he is now one) still resonates–“who’s gonna fill their shoes?”
Thanks for indulging me.