MAB'S MUSICAL STUFF
"WHAT IS "COUNTRY"?
Well, it must have recently been awards time, (haven't watched them in years), but the age old claims have popped up over and over again, "THAT AIN'T COUNTRY!!!" "All the acts, have changed,the music has changed, the looks have all changed, "it's just warmed over pop and it SUCKS!!!!"
Well, yes, that is probably right from YOUR point of view. And in many cases, I might agree with you. I don't like much on radio, don't really pay attention to trends, or momentary blips on the radar screen, have my favorites, GEORGE JONES et. all, and wish it was still around.
ACTUALLY IT IS. There is STILL traditional country out there, there is still pretty much everything you want is out there. You just have to go find it. A lot of it now falls under the "AMERICANA" category. But you need to understand something, if you are over about 30 years old and are tied to "old country", TODAY'S MUSIC IS NOT FOR YOU! You are NOT the target customer nor the demographic. Honestly, YOU ARE A DINOSAUR! Sorry, but that is just the way music is. It always changes and moves forward!
Think about when you were 15,16,17 years old. Is that music still on the radio? Nope! Am I supposed to get all worked up because the music of the ARCHIES, THE MONKEES, THE ROYAL GUARDSMEN" are not on the mainstream radio? Nah! And a LOT of that was vapid at that time. It's what we listen to as "teeny boppers!"
I always quote TONY BROWN, who was the head of MCA records and a producer of people like REBA MCENTYRE, who once told me while we mutually waited for a dinner table, "IF COUNTRY WRITERS WRITE IT, COUNTRY PUBLISHERS PUBLISH IT, COUNTRY ARTISTS RECORD IT, COUNTRY LABELS RELEASE IT, COUNTRY RADIO PLAYS IT, COUNTRY PRESS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY COUNTRY FANS, EMBRACE IT,
IT IS COUNTRY!"
Now we may not think so, but guess what, WE HAVE NO SAY IN WHAT IS AND IS NOT COUNTRY! And guess what else, "were in a LONG line of what is and is NOT considered "COUNTRY."
In the 20's, there were people who claimed that JIMMIE RODGERS the FAther of Modern country music, and a distant cousin of mine, was NOT country. He was a "Blues singer, playing that damn N####****" music!" (an actual quote from the day)
In the 50's and 60's, they thought the "Country Politian" sound of strings, and "moooing background singers"of PATSEY CLINE, and JIM REEVES, were NOT COUNTRY!
In 1976, Charlie Rich, BURNED THE ANNOUNCEMENT at the CMA awards that JOHN DENVER had won "ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR!"
Yep, pulled out a cigarette lighter and lit it on fire. Weren't as many rules about no smoking at that time.
In the 80's, 90s, people like Alabama, Exile, Lee Greenwood, were POP SINGERS, and rock bands. Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt were rock singers, with big stage shows, lights and lasers.
In the 2000's, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, were all slammed as "THAT'S AINT COUNTRY.!" I recently heard a younger singer I was working with tell me what she wanted her music to be. She said, " I want it to be country, but not that OLD TRADITIONAL SOUNDING STUFF LIKE TAYLOR SWIFT."
So that's the way it always is. I've been here since 1988 and all I've ever seen stay the same is one generation complaining about the generation replacing it. Need to GET A GRIP!!!! It's NOT YOUR COUNTRY! NOT SUPPOSED TO BE. IF you are not out there buying the product, merchandise, going to shows, supporting the venues, joining the fan clubs and mailing lists of your favorites, YOU ARE NOT THE TARGET MARKET. Sorry!
And for songwriters and artists, YOU DON'T HAVE TO WRITE WHAT IS ON THE RADIO!!! Be yourself. Maybe YOU'LL set the trend that leads the way in the next few years. Maybe someone will be saying YOU'RE NOT COUNTRY! You'll be in vogue.
Just keep this in mind. I recently finished a book by a writer named Jack Isenhour. It's called "THE TRUE STORY OF MAKING OF THE GREAEST COUNTRY RECORD OF ALL TIME. He talks about when the song came out, the producer, a very successful guy at the time, had "RUINED COUNTRY, by putting the "wailing background singers and the strings all over this song and had destroyed everything. They said the singer had "sold out", and was not country, Just a wanna be pop star."
That singer was GEORGE JONES. The song was "HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY." Considered the GREATEST COUNTRY SINGER AND GREATEST COUNTRY SONG IN HISTORY.
Guess that wasn't country either. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it and deal with it and make your own contribution. Get over it.