The big controversy at this week's 2020 CMT awards was Noah Cyrus wearing a near-nothing sheer body suit while performing with Jimmy Allen. All I can say is “Bless Her Heart” but at least she wore a cowboy hat and lots of rhinestones to look the part and did her best to sing “country”. That’s a lot more than most acts do in what Nashville is slinging out as “country music” these days.
I know a lot of people might say I’m being an old fogie, not willing to change with the times, but nothing is further from the truth. I appreciate great talent and we’ve always had it in country. As far as change and crossover we have always had that from the likes of Jim Reeves, Ray Price, the Outlaw movement, Alabama, Kenny Rogers, the 89 hats, Bro country, and so on. The difference is that there was always a country element to all the music if even in just a small way. A big example is Dolly Parton insisting that her pop crossover hits did not get remixed and lose their country heart.
Country was about either the twang in your voice, a fiddle, a steel guitar, a mandolin, and a banjo. All country had all or at least just one of those elements whether it had a rockin’ edge or a pop slant. And all the songs had a home-grown story whether dark or wholesome with a moral or a real message. That’s no longer the case. These days its only about the money and the next big thing. You listen to a most so called “country stations” and you really can’t tell the difference between the pop station down the dial. Its an "everything goes" rap, rock, bubblegum r & b, and teeny bop mishmash that gets thrown into the Music City blender and everyone has to consume what comes out. NO THANK YOU!
Once again, I need to clarify: There are some very talented musicians and singers still in the country music scene BUT 75% have No Business being in country! I’m not going to name names because I have met most of them and I respect their talent but most should be in another format like pop, adult contemporary, rhythm & blues (soul), and even rock and hip hop. They do not belong in country because they are NOT country. They do not use even one traditional country instrument and none of their songs even have a hint of a country sound. Some do try to dress country and act country but what comes out of their mouth and music is nothing of the sort. I’m not saying all country does or should sound alike, some is more rock leaning or pop leaning BUT, in the end, you can always tell that it’s country. To phrase Lacy J. Dalton, the boys that make the noise on 16th avenue have become just that.
What’s sad is that the big-time country radio station programmers and consultants won’t speak up either out of fear of being blacklisted, losing their jobs, made fun of, or scorned by their peers. Why else would they continue to allow the destruction of one of the most pure, creative, and beautiful story-telling formats there ever were? I pray that it doesn’t go deeper into the dark bowels of payola of plugola…but I am not naive enough to believe that doesn’t exist in some way of form.
It all goes back to how grateful I am to be at the new Program Director at KRNH where we not only play the legends but also the newer talent keeping the REAL COUNTRY sound alive. In fact the programmers of all the Country Music stations at the Ranch Radio Group agree with this philosophy.
If you feel as we do and you're not fortunate enough to live in an area like the Hill Country where we’ve kept the spirit of country alive, I urge you to contact every label that produces country music and demand that they keep the TRUE country music sound and filter the other stuff out to their other formats because you want to keep country alive. If we don’t act and express our feelings just as in any other instance we will lose what we love and have to exist with what we have because we didn’t fight to keep what we lost and what made life worth living. Real Country Music is worth it. So Fight for YOUR COUNTRY!