“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” -Winston Churchill
Country music has certainly changed, and day by day the music industry grows more competitive. Careers used to be measured in platinum records, awards, and sold out shows. Now it feels that they are measured in followers, retweets, and likes. Every musician’s dream starts with getting that song on the radio, but since when does that require compromising the grounds of which the genre was built on? The old story-telling roots turned to hip beats sprinkled with auto-tune and a country accent, even if they are from Australia. It started with exceptional talent and elbow grease. The heart of southern hospitality and the soul of the American Dream. Artists who pioneered the genre had to work the hardest just to make a living. They started something new and unique from the rest, something that took time to catch on and bloom into what is now considered to be timeless. Here’s a picture of country music’s Mount Rushmore.
Somewhere along the way, we took a one way flight from Nashville to L.A. In 2012, numerous "pop country" bands cruised their way up the charts and never looked back. Since then, other new artists have joined the competition of who can make the catchiest song of the month. This new wave has taken over the genre and sadly they are here to stay. While there is some pop-country music that doesn’t make your ears hurt, it is clear that the industry has become a popularity contest, and the easiest place to cash a check. Which makes you wonder if it’s meant to be? However, there is a silver-lining in all of this, his name is Chris Stapleton.
Since 2010, he and a few other artists have emerged with a good head on their shoulders, writing songs that will hold the test of time. Instead of taking the easy road, they work towards being the artist that they dreamed of being, not the one that their record label has envisioned. It is inevitable that the industry is going to continue to change. Even within an artists career, they will change, their music will change. We all just hope and pray to see it moving back in the right direction.