View Full Version : Is Country Music dying?

05-15-2014, 02:03 PM
Colin Raye wonders if "Bro Country" is killing it:


On one hand, I'm a huge Johnny Cash fan and he fought against the idea that this artist or this song wasn't "country enough." That's one of the ways Outlaw Country got started, as a reaction to those who wanted to keep a tight hold on what was "real country."

OTOH, it's been years since I've listened to country music. Around the time Taylor Swift came along, it seemed to turn into pop or what we knew as Southern Rock when I was growing up in the 70s. It just doesn't interest me anymore. So I see Raye's point.

Country really seemed to go too "pop" in the late 70s/early 80s, then the "New Traditionalist" artists like Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Clint Black and Alan Jackson came along and turned things around. I think it's time for it to happen again--I just wonder if it'll ever come.

05-15-2014, 02:41 PM
IMHO, country music has always been changing, adapting, evolving. Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bocephus, Conway Twitty, Alabama, Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam, Garth Brooks, Lady Antebellum, Brooks & Dunn, the list goes on & on of people and groups that brought good music and changes in that music to America. I like almost all of it. Almost. And there's some that I do not care for, but that's everything in life, especially these days & times.
I even played some David Allan Coe the other day. Now THAT was the perfect country & western song.......EVER!

I guess it all comes down as a matter of perspective.

05-15-2014, 04:25 PM
Listen to a lot of the old stuff of late. Bob and his Tejas Playboys, etc..

..even the old Spade Cooley stuff, in spite of his criminal bio

05-15-2014, 07:12 PM
I believe country music is thriving. It's keeping up with technology to deliver a quality sound. Pop music evolves, rock evolves and country evolves. It still tells the story of faith based, rural American values that so many share. It sounds different. It is still country. I am an outlaw country type, but can appreciate the music quality of Birmingham's own Sara Evans or an Eric Church. But, put a Willie Nelson or Patsy Cline tune on the turntable and I am in a different world.

Darrell KSR
05-15-2014, 10:30 PM
I agree with my buddy Collin. Just mostly changed since he began. But mostly changed before he arrived, too. Constantly evolving. Better or worse? Neither, just different.

Side note. I incorporated a nonprofit charitable foundation over 20 years ago, and he performed a charity concert for it at the Pensacola Civic Center. Pretty amazing to do what he did and it helped make that foundation. Met him privately before the concert with the parents of the little girl who was injured and whose name was attached to the charity. Could not have been more genuine and supportive. Charity was not for her benefit, but named after her. Big fan of his after that day.

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05-16-2014, 01:38 PM
I like most country music but the ones that are basically pop or rock I don't really care for, and I dont' care for Swift at all. Love Sarah Evans, could listen to her for hours and have driving the road. I don't think it is dying but it has changed a lot from the music to the musicians who often look like a hard rock band.

05-17-2014, 08:59 AM
I dunno. Who is Taylor Swift? What is bro country?

05-17-2014, 11:29 AM
I can see it snapping back, as it has before, but I don't follow it much. I like bits and pieces, some outlaw stuff and definitely southern rock, but most of it isn't really my taste. That said it's important for country to continue (and keep its roots) as country and blues are pretty much the foundation of all other American musical forms and continue to drive them.

05-17-2014, 12:14 PM
The internet has created a situation that has put the labels in a very dangerous position. No longer are they the sole gate keepers of what gets seen and heard. This puts them quite possibly in a long-tail situation. They are on the verge of becoming entirely irrelevant. So being as they are, very risk averse, they have to put more and more of their eggs in fewer and fewer baskets. The result is the catering to very specific lowest demographic markets. The stuff that gets put out for general consumption is basically marketing influenced drivel devoid of much of its artistic integrity. It's intended to try to make money any way it can. The labels know their once guaranteed revenue streams are drying up. This is why you are seeing more cross-promotion IN the music. It's one of the only things left they have to sell. Because of this, for casual music fans, there has NEVER been a worse time in music.

On the flip side, the internet has truly created a democratization of the artform. With modern technology, the cost of entry has been dropped to rediculously low levels. No longer do you need million dollar recording studios to get good sound. Now you can mix, process and convert all of your music on your laptop and many times get a clarity and depth of sound most designers would have killed for in the 60s-70s. No longer do you need a label to reach a wider audience, with sites like BandCamp, SoundCloud, iTunes, GooglePlay, etc. you can handle the distribution yourself. Setup a website, social media account, etc. and you can even handle the marketing yourself. No longer does the artist have to choose between the art they love and a career to pay the bills. With the lowered cost of entry there are many artists who make the music for the sheer love of music. They work a day job to pay the bills and 'tour' on the weekends to support their love. It's returning music to its roots in a way. It's now about the music again. Its about an artist staying true to his form and the connection an artist makes to his patrons. As a true music lover, who loves the art of music, there has NEVER been a better time for music.

For example, recently I have been on a bit of a neo-classical kick. Came across an artist out of Portland, OR who goes by the name of Eluvium. Which by the way if you like Beethovenesque piano music I think you would enjoy his stuff. Anyways, in the 1990s there is no way I would have found his music. His music would have been relegated, at best, to that of a local curiosity. Maybe a few thousand people at best would know of him, more likely only a few dozen. Yet right now, I'm listening to his song "Prelude For the Time Feelers" and next will listen to "Perfect Neglect in a Field of Statues". On Spotify his songs have millions of plays combined, the type of exposure that was impossible only a decade or so ago. So for the person who loves music, its an amazing world out there if you are willing to do a bit of digging. I often find myself going through Spotify, looking at related artists searching for new stuff. In many ways, its the digital analog (pun intended) to going into the record store and flipping through stuff in the bins until you found something interesting. Sometimes, it just takes discovering one interesting new artist to open up a whole world of stuff to you.

A thread on fark.com came up with the following list of people to check out if you hate modern country. Some might be newer some a bit older. I am not a huge country fan, so I can't vouch for any of this. Just reposting this for those that need a bit of direction to look.

Check out some Red Dirt music and others.

Drag The River
Uncle Tupelo
Son Volt
Ryan Adams
The Bottle Rockets
16 Horsepower
Randy Rogers Band
American Aquarium
Blackberry Smoke
Ryan Bingham
The Cadillac Three
Charlie Robison
Cole Porter Band
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Cody & The Departed
OLD Eric Church
Josh Thompson
Roger Creager
Turnpike Troubadours
Stoney LaRue
Hayes Carll
Wade Bowen
Jason Boland & The Stragglers
John D. Hale
Casey Donahew Band
Reckless Kelly
Whiskey Myers
Jonny Burke
Wade Bowen
Jason Boland and the Stragglers
Josh Abbot Band
Austin Lucas
Chris Knight
Lucinda Williams
James McMurtry
Todd Snider
Lydia Loveless
Rebecca Black

05-20-2014, 05:43 AM
You want some good, classic style country from one of "today's" artists....Jamey Johnson. That man is a throwback to the Merle Haggard country style. My wife bought me tickets to see him here in Louisville...he came with Randy Houser. Absolutely one of the best concerts I've ever been to!!

05-20-2014, 05:32 PM
Gonna find out tonight, there's a kid on The Voice that sings throw back country, I listened to him last night and he's very good. See how much support for country there is tonight when they announce the winner. He is going up against two others that are going to be very hard to beat... Either way he'll be recording very soon

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05-21-2014, 12:12 PM
The country boy came in 2nd which surprised me as it appeared he might be 3rd...speaks well of country music support given the target audience for the show

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05-22-2014, 10:45 AM
Gonna find out tonight, there's a kid on The Voice that sings throw back country, I listened to him last night and he's very good. See how much support for country there is tonight when they announce the winner. He is going up against two others that are going to be very hard to beat... Either way he'll be recording very soon

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Jake Worthington finished second, and based on iTunes charts top 100 it was a very close second. The pop music singing Christina Grimmie finished third.