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Thread: General Country Music Discussion

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    General Country Music Discussion

    Since we take up so much of the other threads complaining about the state of country music, I thought I would start a thread where we can do that without derailing the other threads. If the topic is relevant in the other thread, obviously have the discussion there, but I decided to listen to Thomas Rhett's new album Tangled Up on Spotify and wanted somewhere to discuss it. I'll listen to anything for free, but this album does not warrant its own thread - it deserves to be part of a larger discussion surrounding the new musical trends in country music.

    I actually really liked Crash & Burn. I thought it was fun and different and the subject matter was not completely bro-country. I actually thought maybe Thomas was trying to move away from these new trends. OMG, I had no idea how bad it is. I don't know if he is trying to be Sam Hunt 2.0, or if he just saw Sam Hunt's R&B and raised him some doo-wop and funk. This album is ALL OVER THE PLACE. The first song Anthem makes me cringe. It's a song about Anthems. It is so bad. Then the next song is C&B, which I do like. Then, someone have mercy on my ears, the next song South Side is scary bad - the premise is literally "shake your south side" and even has a talk-rap line that doesn't quite sample Salt Shaker by the Yin Yang Twins, but sounds like it's trying awfully hard to sound like Salt Shaker. Then there is a song called Die a Happy Man - actually a very good song that amazingly sounds country. Then we move on to Vacation, which I think a lot of you have heard and boy, that song is so cringe-worthy. Then he has "Like It's The Last Time", which sounds like a pretty good pop/contemporary song.

    That's as far as I am, the next track coming on is "T-Shirt" which doesn't sound promising by the title. Anyway, consider this a thread to discuss all things new country and the trends happening in the industry. I'm starting to think that Luke and Jason could never have imagined that their so-called bro-country could ever go this far off track. I don't think this R&B and Funk trend is doing anything to help country music. I think that radio is doing a better job of playing some quality songs like Fly, Girl Crush, Burning House, Diamond Rings, etc, but the "bro-country" tracks seem to just be getting farther and farther away from any semblance of being country or even rock.

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    I also want to say that I have never been a country purist. I have always felt that some country artists were more pop or contemporary such as Carrie, Lady A, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, etc. For some reason they (and god forbid, even TS) never seemed to push the boundaries this bad. Taylor's country songs at least somewhat sounded like they were in the country family, it's just after WANGBT, it was obvious she wanted to be pop and that is when I really had a problem with her. It's also not that I can't enjoy some of this R&B flavored country music, but honestly some of it is just bad. I mean, if I want to listen to R&B or Funk music, Robin Thicke and John Legend do it better. If I want some doo-wop style, Meghan Trainor is pretty good. I think country, rock, and blues can blend fairly naturally, but R&B to me is different. Plus, the musical production on these songs is so unnatural. I have pretty much let most of it just slide off my back. I've always felt, if you don't like it, change the station, but I'll be honest I didn't expect this stuff to get worse. Thanks a lot, Sam Hunt.
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    T-Shirt wasn't great, although the songs after it, Single Girl and The Day You Stop Looking Back are definitely better. This album is kind of 50/50 so far. It's just that the atrocious songs are so bad, you wonder what on earth he is doing and then he surprises you with something that's actually good and it's hard to believe it's the same artist, let alone the same album.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet311 View Post
    I also want to say that I have never been a country purist. I have always felt that some country artists were more pop or contemporary such as Carrie, Lady A, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, etc. For some reason they (and god forbid, even TS) never seemed to push the boundaries this bad. Taylor's country songs at least somewhat sounded like they were in the country family, it's just after WANGBT, it was obvious she wanted to be pop and that is when I really had a problem with her. It's also not that I can't enjoy some of this R&B flavored country music, but honestly some of it is just bad. I mean, if I want to listen to R&B or Funk music, Robin Thicke and John Legend do it better. If I want some doo-wop style, Meghan Trainor is pretty good. I think country, rock, and blues can blend fairly naturally, but R&B to me is different. Plus, the musical production on these songs is so unnatural. I have pretty much let most of it just slide off my back. I've always felt, if you don't like it, change the station, but I'll be honest I didn't expect this stuff to get worse. Thanks a lot, Sam Hunt.
    I agree. It isn't bad to be interested in other genres and influenced by them, but when you don't even hear any remnants of country, there is something terribly wrong. There are also some genres that blend together better than others. Country-Rock and even country-pop seem kind of natural progressions (as long as they do firmly hold on to those country roots). With something like country-rap and country-r&b, I think that feels a lot less natural and almost hits you like a punch in the face when it comes on the radio because it is just so NOT what you are looking for when you turn on the country station. The new trends now are actually making me miss the bro-country that was dominating the charts. This feels like a kind of continuation of bro-country, where its the same guys performing it, but instead of having terrible party lyrics with some country production its terrible, shallow lyrics with non-country production. I'm just incredibly frustrated with the state of country and I don't know how anyone is going to be able to turn it around. I've been reading articles written by defenders of "traditional"country (and when I say traditional, I don't even mean truly traditional country, just stuff that sounds like it has country in it even) and they have pretty much all come to the conclusion that those that want to remain firmly planted in the country genre are just going to have to give up the title "country" and come up with something else. Some artists even now are trying to promote themselves as both country and americana. Maybe all of the truly country people will shift over to the americana label, of course that wouldn't be fair to the truly americana artists, or maybe they will jsut completely make up a new title. Or maybe they won't break away at all and somehow these issues will be worked out. I hope so, but I don't see how that will work.
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    Thanks for this thread, great idea. I hope it does not become a "police state" but an open honest discussion about country music and those who preside within.

    I liked crash and burn also. There have other songs I have liked lately as well. Crazy/S&D/Burning House/Fly/.......

    I think country music is no different than any other style of music that should be allowed to grow and bend and influence... I mean why not?
    A lot of the problem for me comes when people try to suggest that "this is country and that is not" and it is usually about "agendas" when they draw those lines.
    I have ended up in many arguments that sounded like I was against this singer or that singer when in fact that real issue I was arguing was this idea that one artist is just automatically assumed to be more "country" than someone lease and therefore what ever they are releasing gets a free pass while sounding no more or less "country" than anything else. And the other side of that is when an artist is seen as "not very country" they are automatically assumed to be an interloper who has no business being in the genre and their material is judged differently. That's just not fair and hypocrisy can be found from both sides of the argument.

    Arguing whether Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood were "legitimately country" was always a frustrating argument for me cause it was always obvious that people used the argument to meet their own opinions about the artist and not really about weather the person was a country artist or not.

    So I think it will be nice to have a thread to discuss what we think "is" country and what that even means! ha ha ha......

    I can say that I have really detested the environment at country music in the last 3 years. All the bro-country stuff was so completely saturating the format that it was almost impossible to listen to if you were a decent person who did not marginalize and objectify women and or if you did not smoke and drink and have casual sex with strangers all over the place..... It was an odd landscape indeed. and it feels like its lifting, thank goodness..

    I think the CMA Awards are going to reflect what we have been seeing over the last 3 years, but hopefully next year enough time will have gone by without all this junk at radio that it will be a new season of better material, and hopefully smarter voting.....

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    PK, with the continually rising star of Sam Hunt and then 50% or better of the material on Thomas Rhett's new album being heavily R&B/Funk influenced, I am not sure the bro-country trend is going away. I think it is just morphing into something that is even less country than the arena rock version of bro-country. Like I said, I'm not a purist. I have always been fairly flexible about what I classify as "country" music. There are a lot of musical styles and influences that can be heard in a song and it still feel/sound country to me, whether it be the instrumentation, the artist's voice, or the lyrics. I'm just having a hard time with some of the new stuff that when it comes on the radio I feel like I'm on the pop/Hot AC station and not on country. That's sayign a lot considering I'm someone who has never minded the blurred lines too much. I don't appreciate pop stars using country to get famous (like Taylor did after a certain point or like Jessica Simpson when her pop career faded), because I do think at some level country needs to remain its own genre. However, I'm pretty lenient/liberal in my definitions of country. Just listen to South Side by Thomas Rhett and I'm not sure you will say that country music is getting better. I think there will be some artists (like Carrie seems to be doing with Storyteller) that will forge their own path and not follow the trends, but some of these newer guys (and girls like Lauren Alaina and Danielle Bradbery) that are going to chase these trends as far as they can to get some traction in their career. I would probably say the same thing about Kelsea Ballerini given her first two singles if I hadn't listened to the rest of the album and loved it. I don't think she is any more pop country than Jessica Andrews was back in the day or Taylor or Leann Rimes or even Carrie has been on certain songs. Then again, the females, even the new ones, are not the main offenders here. It is really the guys.

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    For me personally, I'm originally from Papua New Guinea (country straight north of Australia, lol), so the only country music I was exposed to was what my parents listened to on the radio on Sunday mornings before church. That was mostly Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Johnny Cash. Apart from that, not much. Growing up I was into local PNG music, any type of rock music as well as Pacific and Hawaiian reggae (which coincidentally has a lot of lap steel guitar in it). I knew Carrie because I am an AI stan, but I was too young in 2005 to really follow her. I knew of JTTW though; even here the song and the phrase is known. Was only about 7 years ago when the mobile phone network boom began back home that I was able to keep up with Carrie news via the Internet.
    The difference that I see between artists like Carrie, Lady A, RF and ole Swiftie, and the new bros of Rhett, SH and the bro panderers is that Carrie and the others never pandered to what was hot at pop radio at the time. Sure, some of their songs were pop-leaning, but they weren't honestly what was "popular" on pop radio at the time. You can't tell me BHC is a pop genre song; because it isn't! What 'pop' songs on pop radio sounded like BHC? None! Same for the Lady A tunes that crossed over, and the Swift songs.
    Now if you look at TS's previous album, her pop songs for pop radio very much took up what was popular on 'pop' radio at the time. IKYWT- dubstep. Now for her new album; SIO- includes trumpet work prominently in the beginning and then throughout. That sound was popular on pop radio at the time; Jason Derulo had just had a big hit with Wiggle, and other songs incorporated trumpet and other brass instruments for that sort of sound.That's what Rhett, Hunt and the wannabe bros are doing; they're just making songs that are copying the sounds that are popular on pop radio at the moment. For pop radio the leading men are old-school RnB-leaning guys like Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Sam Smith and even Nick Jonas. Heck Justin Bieber is going for a more smooth RnB vocal sound, paired with electronic music. Only difference is the country guys have to at least include some reference to 'country living', like a small town, or a truck, boots, guns or something to at least save some face and make sure country radio plays it.

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    Well, as someone who's followed the growth of modern Country Rap with interest, I feel I should put in a word to defend it. Not everyone lives in cities, or identifies with city culture - yet they're aware of the development of Hip-Hop, and feel an affinity for the empowerment it's seen to bring. What they can sometimes relate to more easily is a blending of Rap styling with Country Music and lyrical themes. Bringing Rap "down home" can combine a richer awareness of heritage with evolving developments elsewhere.

    Nappy Roots have been one of the most successful groups in this field - and they've received collaborations from outside artists, while retaining connection with the culture of the area they come from:




    Blending of Rap and Country has also spread to the work of White musicians, especially ones who identify with inter-racial culture. This can also be successful, in my opinion, as long as it retains identifiable Roots links.
    Here are a couple of examples I find work - a well known song from Bubba Sparxxx (with help from Rap producer Timbaland)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsMikuC8dzs
    and Sarah Ross's take on the done-me-wrong revenge theme
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9d5Zd3AMIk

    While I'd support Country Rap as a strand within the wider Country Music spectrum, I do place emphasis on a basic allegiance to Country Music's roots and themes. Where I'd agree with the objections raised is if Rap is simply brought in an attempt to "crossover" or cash in on a radio fad. Pop Rap, like Pop Country, is too often an attempt to court popularity by using a Pop theme with little attempt to give priority to the musical integrity.

    Sam Hunt has said that he didn't set out to create the music of a particular genre, but to draw on whatever influences inspired him. I don't feel I know his work well - but at this point, I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. My instinct, on what I have heard, is that he may be getting a particularly bad press, as a symbol of a development many dislike - but that some of his songs may be both more original, and have more depth than some of the banal Pop Country that features in the Mainstream charts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PNGcarriefan95 View Post
    For me personally, I'm originally from Papua New Guinea (country straight north of Australia, lol), so the only country music I was exposed to was what my parents listened to on the radio on Sunday mornings before church. That was mostly Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Johnny Cash. Apart from that, not much. Growing up I was into local PNG music, any type of rock music as well as Pacific and Hawaiian reggae (which coincidentally has a lot of lap steel guitar in it). I knew Carrie because I am an AI stan, but I was too young in 2005 to really follow her. I knew of JTTW though; even here the song and the phrase is known. Was only about 7 years ago when the mobile phone network boom began back home that I was able to keep up with Carrie news via the Internet.
    The difference that I see between artists like Carrie, Lady A, RF and ole Swiftie, and the new bros of Rhett, SH and the bro panderers is that Carrie and the others never pandered to what was hot at pop radio at the time. Sure, some of their songs were pop-leaning, but they weren't honestly what was "popular" on pop radio at the time. You can't tell me BHC is a pop genre song; because it isn't! What 'pop' songs on pop radio sounded like BHC? None! Same for the Lady A tunes that crossed over, and the Swift songs.
    Now if you look at TS's previous album, her pop songs for pop radio very much took up what was popular on 'pop' radio at the time. IKYWT- dubstep. Now for her new album; SIO- includes trumpet work prominently in the beginning and then throughout. That sound was popular on pop radio at the time; Jason Derulo had just had a big hit with Wiggle, and other songs incorporated trumpet and other brass instruments for that sort of sound.That's what Rhett, Hunt and the wannabe bros are doing; they're just making songs that are copying the sounds that are popular on pop radio at the moment. For pop radio the leading men are old-school RnB-leaning guys like Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Sam Smith and even Nick Jonas. Heck Justin Bieber is going for a more smooth RnB vocal sound, paired with electronic music. Only difference is the country guys have to at least include some reference to 'country living', like a small town, or a truck, boots, guns or something to at least save some face and make sure country radio plays it.
    I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head with this post and said it perfectly. It's probably what I've been thinking/feeling, but I hadn't been able to express it correctly. There has always been pop-influenced country music, but you are so right in that you could always tell if you were on the pop station or the country station. Pop country still didn't sound like Top 40 radio. The problem now with some of these songs is that the new R&B/Funk/Doo Wop country is starting to sound a whole lot like what is on Top 40 radio today, meaning the new country music has no real identity as country music other than some generic lyrics as you mentioned. It's like Thomas Rhett thinks he can make his song Vacation country by saying he bought his beach chair at Walgreens, smh.

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    Everything has roots. Country styles that have similarities to modern urban Rap go back a long way. This recording is from Nov 1926, in Atlanta, when Columbia were exploring Southern styles, to cash in on the rising demand for the new shellac 78 records. Chris Bouchillon, who came from South Carolina, is usually credited as the first commercial Talking Blues artist.

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    Spoken narration styles were often used when the artist wanted to show a sympathy with "hard times", and sometimes when the wanted to criticize the often harsh and judgmental attitudes that were prevalent at the time.

    This is a famous satirical example by Woody Guthrie.

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    Hank Williams certainly used spoken narration quite a bit - but in a postwar world increasingly marked by socially conformist views, he often preferred to do use an alternative persona, known as Luke the Drifter. This narration (which was later covered by Johnny Cash) shows how the Talking Blues moved on, gradually losing much of its rural sing-song chant, often with a one instrument (banjo or guitar) accompaniment, and concentrates more on a dramatic, poetic, recitation

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    Okay, so I have a question for you, Faraway, you are clearly fine with what Sam Hunt is doing, and I respect that opinion. I am curious to know, however, where you draw the line? At what point/what would an artist have to do for you to say "that no longer belongs on country radio?"

    PS. I hope this doesn't sound confrontational, because I don't mean to at all.
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    The Nashville Sound also continued to use spoken passages in songs, certainly through the '60s, and probably later - though their approach tended to use them for dramatic effect, as interludes in songs that included lusher instrumental accompaniment, and conventional singing. You can find this style, for example, in Brenda Lee, and in many others. This approach went farther from the early rural Talking Blues, though - whereas modern urban Rap continued to draw on the older Southern tradition, as well as on African-inspired styles, like Griot story telling. This difference may be one reason why the reintroduction of Rap based styles is proving so divisive among Mainstream fans - as it's seen as a clash of genres.

    As I've said before, I'm not heavily into Sam Hunt's music, and am hesitant to evaluate him in detail. But I don't dislike what I've heard so far - and, for what it's worth, I'll take this as my example:



    I certainly wouldn't refuse to count this in the Country fold - nor would I say that he's a basically General Music artist, who only calls himself, or allows his label to call him. a Country artist. There are various influences in it - but I hear influences that still put him within a Country tradition.

    Firstly, I can see evolving developments that go back to Talking Blues (and even to some of the Mainstream Nashville Sound.
    Secondly, much of the theme, and the imagery, of the lyric evoke a traditional Country song type (Here, I can't help pointing out that is pretty much the argument we often use about Carrie's more Pop influenced songs - that the lyric and the imagery she paints are still rooted in time-honoured Country themes)
    Thirdly - I find Hunt's music here quite experimental and interesting - it can't be written off, to my mind, as simply a Pop pastiche. In that respect, I'm inclined to prefer Hunt's approach to that of some of the artists who seem to be going from Mainstream Country into pure Pop - and also to some of the current male chart stars in the Mainstream, who often strike me as using more cliched lyrics and less develped music.

    It may well be the case that Sam Hunt has worse examples, which are putting people off - as I say, I don't know his work in detail. But, whatever the case, I think he should be judged on the songs as songs, and not on a basic premise about his supposed genre status.

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    Turning to the wider issue of Rhythm and Blues in a Country context, this is a powerful example of what I would love to see more of. This was Grammy nominated for both Traditional R & B performance, and for Best R & B song.




    There are many things there that would work as well in a Country Music context - e.g. the person's life style problems that followed Daddy leaving home reminded me of Chris Knight's "Heart of Stone"; having to walk to work reminded me of Carrie's "Smoke Break"; the clash between the down home man and the more sophisticated woman who leads him astray has been done in many Country song - as have the prison theme and the religious references.

    The music and the emotion work very well - and I'd be happy to see this covered in Country Music, or taken as an influence for new songs

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    Since we're on this topic, Faraway, are you familiar with Ruthie Collins?

    She's relatively new on Curb Records, and released a re-imagining of Hank Williams' 'Ramblin' Man' by incorporating EDM and pop influences. IMO, it works quite well, as it doesn't completely abandoned Hank's foundation, but fuses in a more club-like beat. Her vocal, too, is rather emotive. If country is going to continue to walk the line of Top 40, this would be the way to go, IMO.

    https://youtu.be/JS_C6VIUM9A

    Her self-titled EP also features the more traditional-leaning ballad "Get Drunk and Cry," a pretty stellar vocal with a swell of emotion. It details her heartache after a breakup and seeing her former flame with a new girl. The song "Trainwreckin'" is more honky-tonk with a grittier arrangement, with a darker edge, too. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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    When I surfing the country stations in my area, I will stop to listen to the women on the radio. I really like "I Got the Boy", "Fly" and "Burning House" If I am in the mood to listen to any of the men it will be Brad, Tim, Kenny or AJ. I think the women (Carrie, Cam, Jana, & M & T) are staying true to country. They are telling stories in their songs. And I wish radio played them more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DazzledByCarrie View Post
    Okay, so I have a question for you, Faraway, you are clearly fine with what Sam Hunt is doing, and I respect that opinion. I am curious to know, however, where you draw the line? At what point/what would an artist have to do for you to say "that no longer belongs on country radio?"

    PS. I hope this doesn't sound confrontational, because I don't mean to at all.
    I don't feel I'm the best person to draw those lines, because I'm not really a Mainstream fan, and don't listen to Mainstream radio. I listen for the most part to music I find on-line, and what I like usually has some combination of Roots influence, edgy theme and interesting music that goes beyond being a backing track for the vocalist. I'm really not a big fan of Sam Hunt - but I do find some of those in the examples I've heard of him, and I thinkshe gets a worse deal from some critics than he probably deserves, when compared to some of the more blandly predictable Mainstream singers.

    I do, though, appreciate the views of those who are more committed to the Mainstream, and want to keep it more distinct from other genres - as they have every right to. It sometimes puzzles me a bit, though, that they seem harder on some influences coming into the Mainstream (in this case, R & B - but also too, often influences from Texas Outlaw Country, or from the Alternative club scene) - whereas many seem to more readily accept influences from Pop, Easy Listening, or Adult Contemporary.

    The Nashville Sound, in my view, made many compromises with Pop - deliberately so, because it felt that styles like Rockabilly and Honky Tonk could not attract a more sophisticated suburban audience, which could support a large commercial industry. In doing so, I feel quite a bit of its soul and ethos got a bit lost in the process - and it's often the more adventurous, off-Mainstream styles that are bringing that back.

    I tend to draw my personal line at too much Mainline Pop influence - which would include, for example, calling "We Are Never Getting Back Together", or "Live Forever" Country songs - while I'd accept more readily influence from more Alternative General Music sources. But I'd accept that I have no right to draw lines for anyone else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farawayhills View Post
    The Nashville Sound also continued to use spoken passages in songs, certainly through the '60s, and probably later - though their approach tended to use them for dramatic effect, as interludes in songs that included lusher instrumental accompaniment, and conventional singing. You can find this style, for example, in Brenda Lee, and in many others. This approach went farther from the early rural Talking Blues, though - whereas modern urban Rap continued to draw on the older Southern tradition, as well as on African-inspired styles, like Griot story telling. This difference may be one reason why the reintroduction of Rap based styles is proving so divisive among Mainstream fans - as it's seen as a clash of genres.

    As I've said before, I'm not heavily into Sam Hunt's music, and am hesitant to evaluate him in detail. But I don't dislike what I've heard so far - and, for what it's worth, I'll take this as my example:


    I certainly wouldn't refuse to count this in the Country fold - nor would I say that he's a basically General Music artist, who only calls himself, or allows his label to call him. a Country artist. There are various influences in it - but I hear influences that still put him within a Country tradition.

    Firstly, I can see evolving developments that go back to Talking Blues (and even to some of the Mainstream Nashville Sound.
    Secondly, much of the theme, and the imagery, of the lyric evoke a traditional Country song type (Here, I can't help pointing out that is pretty much the argument we often use about Carrie's more Pop influenced songs - that the lyric and the imagery she paints are still rooted in time-honoured Country themes)
    Thirdly - I find Hunt's music here quite experimental and interesting - it can't be written off, to my mind, as simply a Pop pastiche. In that respect, I'm inclined to prefer Hunt's approach to that of some of the artists who seem to be going from Mainstream Country into pure Pop - and also to some of the current male chart stars in the Mainstream, who often strike me as using more cliched lyrics and less develped music.

    It may well be the case that Sam Hunt has worse examples, which are putting people off - as I say, I don't know his work in detail. But, whatever the case, I think he should be judged on the songs as songs, and not on a basic premise about his supposed genre status.
    I'm probably like the only person on this board that is a huge Sam Hunt fan, and I am, I've had his music since he decided to come out with his album and he actually did an acoustic mix tape type album before coming out with his album Montevallo (which was an album that was based on a relationship he had with a girl for a few years from a town named Montevallo) and that helped build his fan base was coming out with that mix tape type CD which included most of the songs from his album and then included some other songs he's written and including Come Over (Kenny Chesney), We Are Tonight (Billy Currington) and Cop Car (Keith Urban). Break Up in a Small Town was a song that he said was one that he most enjoyed writing and coming up with the idea for the song. He was just driving along one night and he was singing that chorus melody when he was coming up for an idea for a new song and Zach Crowell loved the concept and of course they ran away with it and came up with this song. This song probably is not something that would be considered to hit country radio since the way it sounds won't appeal to most, but the song is relatable so it's going to appeal to people with the words of this song.



    This video was shot by one of his friends one day, just him on piano and a microphone, and this song was the first song that he wrote and got him started...this is what made me love his voice, so simple and no other things to enhance the sound, just him on the piano. I know most of everyone don't like him or his music or that he's labeled country and they don't consider him that, and that's okay with me. But, he puts out some better material than some of the other male artists or bro country guys out there and that's what is refreshing to me. And I have to say, when I saw Lady Antebellum's tour this year, and Sam and Hunter Hayes opened up for them, most of the opening acts like Sam hardly ever bring everyone to their seats since most people are usually still getting food or drinks or merchandise and if they miss that opening act, not a big deal, but when I saw Sam, he had all the seats filled and the grass general admission area in the back was also almost all full and everyone was singing his songs back to him, and our one radio station picked up on that and mentioned he was the only opening act this year for a country act for our area that filled all the seats and all that.

    I don't know if my words helped any or that it just shows how much of a fan I am LOL
    Farawayhills likes this.

  • #20
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prettylittlemustang View Post
    Since we're on this topic, Faraway, are you familiar with Ruthie Collins?

    She's relatively new on Curb Records, and released a re-imagining of Hank Williams' 'Ramblin' Man' by incorporating EDM and pop influences. IMO, it works quite well, as it doesn't completely abandoned Hank's foundation, but fuses in a more club-like beat. Her vocal, too, is rather emotive. If country is going to continue to walk the line of Top 40, this would be the way to go, IMO.

    https://youtu.be/JS_C6VIUM9A

    Her self-titled EP also features the more traditional-leaning ballad "Get Drunk and Cry," a pretty stellar vocal with a swell of emotion. It details her heartache after a breakup and seeing her former flame with a new girl. The song "Trainwreckin'" is more honky-tonk with a grittier arrangement, with a darker edge, too. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    Yes - I think she's really interesting, and a good example of what I've been trying to say on the question of stylistic limits. Although I listen to deeply traditional material (right back to unaccompanied Appalachian ballads), I wouldn't describe myself as a Purist or a "Traditionalist" as such - especially as many who do tend to confine themselves to a particular strand of tradition. The point about tradition, for me, is that it provides a stem, which goes on spreading, through different forms and developments. It provides a bedrock, or an ethos, which people interpret and build upon. I certainly hear that in Ruthie.

    It's in the smaller scale, off-Mainstream sectors - the festivals, the clubs, the bar scene, some of the more regional markets, the College towns, that artists often find it easier to innovate, and strike different balances between tradition and progression.

    The Mainstream has to satisfy a more middle-of-the-road, widely accessible, musical demand. It's necessary to keep commercial relevance - which supports not just the handful of stars, but also the songwriters, session players, technical staff and others who depend on it. The downside, though can be twofold - the Mainstream tends to ignore or give only token support to many strands of Country Music - and the ones that it does support can easily settle for becoming more polished, bland, general music-leaning, or unchallenging. Those dangers are not inevitable - as the more interesting Mainstream artists show - but it's a trap that, in my opinion, many do fall into.

    Ruthie's style is not Purist or static - but it knows how to draw on a traditional ethos, with an Alternative vibe. I can relate to that more readily than I can, for example, to an overly "Diva" style, or to too much emphasis on polishing away the raw edge of the music


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