Showing posts with label today's country music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label today's country music. Show all posts

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Part 2 ~ Generic Country

My recent dive into Today's Country Hits was at once enlightening and depressing. Discounting the revelation that the songs are bad (bad!), the singers are utterly forgetful.

Music (and artists) are machine-molded. Some cigar-chomping industrial mogul is getting richer by the day churning out these plastic widgets. "Son, it's not about perpetuity; it's all disposable, boy; and the rubes'll keep coming back for more! Hardy-har-har! (cough)"

Granted, I haven't listened to today's country enough to be able to distinguish one bland artist from another, but even if I did, could I? Two days ago I sampled the current top ten tracks and today I would disgracefully bomb the pop quiz. 

I'm a crafter, which means I follow a pattern; but even I switch things up now and then. I like to put my own stamp on my creations. Today's acts, however, seem content following the dots ~ fake southern twang in just the right places, pickup trucks in verse one; one, count 'em, one fiddle riff heavily enveloped by EDM beats.

These guys are not artists; they're products.

I like listening to Willie's Roadhouse on SiriusXM. I'm not completely on board with all the tracks. Some are even before my ancient times; but I certainly know the artists when I hear them; like 'em or loathe 'em. Few of the singers featured on the channel can be confused with someone else. The instant I hear Tanya, Hank, Faron, Webb, Paycheck, Price, Buck, MERLE, even Jack Greene and Bill Anderson, I know who's singing. And each of them had their individual niche. One can't compare a Haggard song to a Ray Price track.  I can even distinguish a Nashville Sound (Atkins) recording from a Bakersfield production (Nelson).

Singers were who they were and each was his own man (or woman).

The lure of country was discovering a new artist who was different or an intriguing sound. Even in the eighties, individualism reigned: Strait, Travis, Yoakam, The Judds, Black. Today's goal seems to be "sound like everybody else". This is not a prescription for legend status. But maybe that's not the goal. "Who wants to be a legend? I want my money now!"

You want a song you can dance to, even in a roadside honky tonk that you ducked inside to get out of the rain?

Good luck, millennial hipsters. Nobody's ever gonna punch your songs up on the juke box.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Looking For Music Recommendations

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
  • bragging
  • 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.

Thank you!