Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Another Rant about todays "Country Music"

I spent a few hours in a car yesterday, with a local Top 40 Country station playing on the radio. I've been looking for a word to express my feelings for this "music". I've struggled for over 24 hours now and the best I can come up with is...Yechh!

I can't tell the difference between any of the singers by voice. I wish the radio announcers would at least take the time to break in and tell me that it is now a new song with a different singer because, otherwise, I can't tell where one stops and another starts. If they didn't throw a few female vocalists in there once in a while you'd NEVER be able to tell one song from another.

I realize that there is likely a certain amount of jealousy (sour grapes?) involved in my opinion here, since I'm a songwriter with no hits. If one of the songs being played on the Top 40 was one of mine, recorded by one of these "new artists", I guess I'd be a big fan. But none of the songs I heard yesterday seemed to have any substance to them. The melodies weren't memorable nor were the lyrics. What song from todays Top 40 would you think will be a "classic" 10 years from now? Which one of these drab puff pieces will be requested in bars in the year 2020?

Let me give you a hint. I'll bet we're still getting requests for "Mama Tried", "Good Hearted Woman" and "Folsom Prison Blues" in ten years!

I and several of my friends are writing songs today with catchy melodies and meaningful lyrics. Any Wayne Nelson song is more enjoyable than anything I heard yesterday.

I'm not saying it has to be "Western" to be good. And if they want to sing in a more "soft rock" style (The Eagles, Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Molly Hatchett...would all be "Country" bands today by the sound of things) they should at least make it something worthwhile. How about a little meaning in the music? I guess, in my old age, I'm thinking more of a Folk Music style where a message comes out.

The thing is, there are some great musicians in todays "popular" Country Music world. In my opinion, the absolutely best voice in any style of music is Alison Krauss and she is backed up by some of the best musicians in the world; Union Station. Why don't I hear them on the Top 40 stations? Why do they only play the "Top 40"? What group of (insulting lable deleted) chooses what IS Top 40?

In all my travels the past few months I have rarely come across an either AM or FM station which plays a little of everything. If I programmed a radio station, you'd hear a huge musical mix. Waylon Jennings followed by Fleetwood Mac followed by George Strait...and so on. I like to hear the songs my friends are doing, old country songs, old rock songs and even a little Tchaikovsky when the mood hits me.

I guess that's why XM and Sirius have taken a bunch of the radio market away from our local stations. Maybe some of the local programmers should think about that.

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