Is there a genre of music that has strayed further from what it once was then country music? As someone who grew up in a small farming town, the bastardization of the what is considered “country” music has always been something I've been aware of, but this Saving Country Music’s Worst Songs of 2013 post that a couple friends shared on Facebook a few months back really put the topic back on my mind (and brought back distant memories of the people that surrounded me and my brother on our long bus ride to school... "if you can't find 'em, grind 'em!" being one of the many vehicle related catch phrases they'd never tire of shouting). You see, I left that small town a very long time ago, so I no longer lived in a world where someone would be blasting a mainstream country radio station from their pick-up truck anywhere near me. So I've been just listening to artists that make what I consider “proper country” music and didn't really think much about what blasts from pick-up trucks these days.
But good lord… some of it is unbelievably shit. You should go press play on a few of the videos in that Saving Country Music post just to get an idea of how far things have strayed from where it started. I mean, it's basically just really bad pop music for people in small towns.
Which I guess is fine. People can dig what they dig (although… listen to actual pop music then, don't just change Cadillac & molly references to tractors & beers, swap a synth with a banjo, and then call it country music). The thing that irks me the most is that it's such a large population that digs this garbage, and they've made it impossible for a guy like me to say that he likes “country” music without also attaching a very big * to what I said and then having to over explain what I really mean when I say that word. Sure, you kind of have to do that with any genre, and I can just say I like “Americana” or "country folk" instead, but those titles don't really capture what saying “country” should mean, what it used to mean.
Anyways, this mix is basically the musical asterisk that I feel like I need to include before I could ever feel comfortable saying “I like country* music” out loud. It features some older artists, but also some new artists and few that fall in between the timeline of Hank to Hayes. So dust off a bottle, press play and get ready to get a little bit lonesome.