I remember the exact moment I decided I was done with country music. I was in my car going to work, and once again K102 blasted out Faith Hill's "Breathe". I moaned something like, "Country music is gone!" and I never looked back. To this day, I maintain that song is a horrible facsimile of country music. But it wasn't all Faith's fault. 2001 was a mediocre-to-bad year for Nashville artists. Even the old standbys like The Dixie Chicks, Brooks & Dunn, and even George Strait released forgettable singles. If I couldn't count on George, I couldn't count on anybody. Who remembers "Ain't Nothing 'bout You"? Or "Where I Come From"? I rest my case.
So I simply re-listened to my Dwight and Diamond Rio and Restless Heart albums until I got sick of listening and gave up on music all together. Now I only listen in the car (on short trips) and only to the oldies station.
I would like to listen to country music but I don't know where to begin. As an experiment I switched the channel in the car to the country station today, and while I only heard parts of two songs, I didn't like them. I think one was by Carrie Underwood, who is a great singer, but I don't care for the bombastic songs she chooses. And they're all mixed hot. The guitars don't even sound like actual guitars; they sound like a swarm of angry bees. I'm not sure who sang the second song - it was a guy, that's all I know. I'm completely out of the loop with regard to the popular artists of the day.
So I'm looking for recommendations. Who are the good artists of today?
Here is what I like:
- a nice melody
- nice harmonies
- instruments that I can pick out of a lineup
Here's what I don't like:
- in-your-face instrumentation
- cutesy and/or cringe-worthy wordplay
Please let me know who I should be listening to. I promise to give every suggestion a fair chance.
Oh, and I also am looking for Americana recommendations - you know, what they used to call country music.