Country Music and how I’m a Recovering Musical Elitist

Country Music and how I’m a Recovering Musical Elitist

“Country music is three chords and the truth.”  ~Harlan Howard

I was driving recently when I thought to myself, “there ain’t nothin’ like a good country song”

(I know what you’re thinking and yes, I am an English major.) I’ve spent the great majority of my life living in the South and for the longest time I hated country music with every fiber of my being. I was too into the “intellectual” and “sophisticated” indie-rock to listen to any hillbilly drinking music, or something like that. I thought that the people who listened to country music simply lacked the ability to understand the vast complexity of “educated” rock and roll. I hope you haven’t written me off as a musical narcissist just yet because I’m about to tell you how very wrong I was.

I can’t exactly pinpoint my epiphany, but I do know that it can be directly attributed to a very simple question. “Why?” I don’t know who said it or when they said it, but I distinctly remember being asked why I didn’t like country music and I was completely unable to formulate a response. This is so interesting because in the past I had been so very vocal about my dislike for country that I was positive I had an answer. However, like most of my adolescent habits, my opinions were ungrounded and extremely biased. (That said, I’m sure one day I’ll look back at this blog and say the exact same thing of my current opinions)

The first country song I ever loved belongs to Kenny Chesney. I was driving one night listening to the radio when he snuck into my late night guilty pleasure (mix 92.9). “The Good Stuff” came on and I melted. His words were so simple and his message so pure. Which is what I’ve come to discover as the most beautiful thing about country music. Country music is not about complex lyrics with hidden messages or musical extremism. It’s quite simply about the beautiful act of story telling, it’s about simplicity. As a pseudo (new favorite word) songwriter, I can tell you that trying to write lyrics that people will connect to is more than a little challenging. I’ve had my fair share of long nights where I just stare at the piano or guitar wondering how in the world I’m going to affectively communicate a feeling. As a slam poet, I’ve always used crazy sentence structures and ridiculous rhyming patterns to my advantage because In the world of slam, elaborate is almost always best. But often times, elaborate is much easier than simple. Simple can be very difficult.

So here’s my message to all of you musical elitists out there.

Joanna Branson Photography

Get over yourself. I really don’t care that you know about more bands than I do. I also don’t care that the music I listen to is what you consider to be “mainstream” which makes me a “conformist.” I think that it’s hilarious that you are all too involved with your own image to take your head out of your ass for long enough to realize that maybe, just maybe you might like coldplay. Let me guess, you like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Modest Mouse, the Flaming Lips, Bob Dylan (btw, I’d really like it if someone would take the time to explain to me exactly what he’s talking about in half his songs) Of Montreal, Wilco, but you HATE their new stuff. That new “commercial shit” is just completely contradictory to the beautiful sounds they once formulated. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of those bands a lot, but I also think that John Mayer is one of the best song writers of our generation and that coldplay is more than just a shallow power pop boy band remake.

The thing that I find so frustrating about elitists is that it’s not really about the music at all, it’s about the image. You can’t listen to the itunes top 100 because your identity is intrinsically tied to being original, therefore not listening to the music that is popular with the masses. My personal opinion is that most of these people choose to listen to crappy music because they like to be seen as unique and trendy. If I had a PhD in psychology I would probably assume then that the reason that their identitites are so tied up in music is because they’re unable to feel confident in themselves without having some sort of scene to define themselves by. But then again, we all define ourselves by what we do on a daily basis. In a perfect world, we’d all embrace the words of the mid 90’s Disney movie “Brink” in which the father figure tells the main character that, “skating is what you do, not who you are.”

But hold on to your fixed gear bikes and cheap cigarettes because I’m not done!

Some of the best music in existence today is not on the billboard top 100 and I fully recognize that. I also believe that the culture of the independent scene is vital in the process of musical progression. I also like wearing girl jeans and plaid shirts, But that doesn’t make me unique. I am unique because there is not another person on this earth who lives like I do. The same is true for you. Don’t stop being who you are listening to the music you like, but make sure that you really like it, because “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah” really really sucks in my personal opinion. Also, give John Mayer a try because you might just like it.

This is the part where you tell me how wrong I am. If you don’t I’m just going to continue being an arrogant a-hole with a blog. Please help me out and tell me what you think.

“Show me an elitist, and I’ll show you a loser.” –Tom Clancy


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69 responses to “Country Music and how I’m a Recovering Musical Elitist

  1. By including a quote from both Brink and Tom Clancy, you have successfully gone where no blog has ever gone before. Really enjoyed it.

  2. boooooo. country music still sucks. and for me, it has nothing to do with being elitist. it’s just awful. i want to punch babies every time i hear it.

  3. and also, i’d rather have lyrics with hidden messages about things that actually matter than straightforward and simple lyrics about sexy tractors.

  4. that’s just because “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah” makes babies cry and you hate the sound of children lol

  5. Jwhite:

    Ever heard of Sir Arthur Quiller Couch? Brilliant man, brilliant writer, He had a saying to ‘murder your darlings,’ which in essence means whenever you write, every single word should be irreplaceable, unchangeable. That waffling a page and a half is easier than writing two powerful concise sentences.

    This quote is out of his book, “On the Art of Writing.” Out of ch. 11: Style.

    “I will present you with this: ‘Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.’ “

    • “But often times, elaborate is much easier than simple. Simple can be very difficult.”

      I was suggesting you are on to something with the above sentence. ha. That you reminded of Q with that sentence.

      • ohhhh haha thanks man. I thought you were implying that my blog waffled around and didn’t have a point lol.

  6. Jordan, this is totally true. And I’m almost thankful I got out of Nashville because I was becoming one of the elitists.. Oh.. and I had no idea that you were an English major (I am as well!). Back to the point.. country music has its ups and downs, but I have been converted. For those that think all country music is about “sexy tractors” and “hoe-downs” really hasn’t listened in a while. There’s your typical hillbilly redneck country music.. and then there’s Nashville country (there’s a difference.. look it up peeps). I also love John Mayer. I think there’s too much emphasis on being “cool” in our society.. on being “cutting edge” and “in the know.” Whatever happened to actually liking something because it speaks to your or is appealing? Some days I’m in the mood for a good Coldplay melody and then sometimes I love hearing Lady Gaga. I even regress to my emo days with The Early November on times when I’m feeling nostalgic.

    Basically — I completely agree with what you’ve written. : )

    • Hey it’s good to hear from you! Yeah I totally had that assumption about country music until I really gave it a shot. I was way wrong. I also slip into the days of TBS and brand new. There’s nothing wrong with that nostalgia (and if there is, then i’m screwed). I also have to admit to rocking out to Ms. Gaga every once in a while. I’m not proud of that, but what can ya do?

      thanks for reading.

      -Jordan

      • Hopefully there’s nothing wrong with it.. and Brand New’s album Deja Entendu will forever be one of my favorites! And it’s okay.. I’m not proud either, but her songs are just so darn catchy (and odd).

        Keep up the great work! It’s fun to read : )

  7. I enjoyed your post. I’m a country doc who plays the mandolin in a bluegrass band on my weekends off. I also write physician bluegrass fiction and have a book, ‘The Mandolin Case,’ due out in 2010.

    All we can be is what we are and that is what I am.

    Dr. Tom Bibey

    drtombibey.wordpress.com

  8. i wholeheartedly agree with this.

    i do find myself shunning bands that are popular just because. bad habit, really. a lot of it changes if i hear a good song that could be on the itunes top 100, or if it grows on me.

    i think part of it also stems from the fact that we’ve seen many bands ‘sell out’. for me, i like to see passion for the music, not passion for the money. i have seen bands change a lot for the money, and it stinks. really. i have also seen performances of bands back in their heyday when i was too young to listen to them, when they were less famous that were much, much better than the performances that they put out now, and sometimes it agitates me. i think that’s why some of us do get protective and bitchy if a band goes mainstream. while these bands do have to get money to survive and feed their families, i think there’s a line between changing what you started with to earn more fame and changing what you started with when they grow up.

    …..however, i refuse to listen to the jonas brothers. they make my ears bleed.

    hope this is actually relevant, i think i just had a word vomit..

  9. Precisely. Also, as a fellow English major (well, as a former-English-major-now-grad-student) I would just like to kick the asses of all those assholes who only love post-modern literature. And the cannon. God bless their dead white me. Why is it so wrong to read Jodi Picoult and Dean Koontz? My biggest pet peeve is people who tell me that their favorite book is Gong with the Wind. Really.

    • my favorite book is gone with the wind. jerk.

      haha just kidding. My favorite book is probably Boy by Roald Dahl, but I don’t know because I was eight when I read it. I really liked it then though.

  10. I think it’s definitely true that a number of “mainstream” artists are hugely talented and thus deserve o be respected. For example, I dig pretty much every Taylor Swift song I’ve heard, Beyonce has some serious vocal skills as does Christina Aguilara, I think Lady Gaga puts on a hell of a show (even though I get flamed for saying I kinda dig her stuff), Justin Timberlake is one of the best entertainers around today and is ridiculously talented, and John Mayer can tear it up on guitar and could be a legit rock god if he quit doing the slow pop songs (John Mayer Trio’s “Try!” is sooo excellent, and what I’ve heard of Continuum isn’t too shabby either). I can also enjoy some country every now and then.

    That being said, none of these artists’ songs resonate with me the way that most of the other bands I listen to do. No song I’ve ever heard on 107.5 the River has ever blown me away the way “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” by of Montreal did. Or “Better Living Through Chemistry” by Queens of the Stone Age, “At Least That’s What You Said” by Wilco, or “There There” by Radiohead. And no other song has captivated me and sent chills down my spine the way “Dondante” did when I heard it the first time as My Morning Jacket played a 4 hour marathon in the pouring rain.

    I agree that simplicity is good and simple lyrics can be better, but I tend to like songs more when it takes the listener a couple listens to figure out what the song means to them and then compare that to everyone else’s opinions of what it means. I can’t say how much time I have spent on songmeanings.net reading other peoples’ interpretations of songs. One song can have dozens of meanings depending on the experiences of the person listening to it. Now, go on there and look at any Taylor Swift song and it usually consists of “She likes him, but he doesn’t like her back and she’s sad”. There’s just no comparison in my opinion.

    I agree that people need to be more open-minded but I don’t think it’s exactly fair to call people “elitist” (even though they probably are) just because they don’t enjoy a certain genre of music. Some music just doesn’t do anything for me, country usually occupies this category for me. I think Carson could also argue that you are closed-minded because you write off alot of his music as “weird, obscure noise by bands with names like The Hovering Walnuts or Hjk Kyul” but to him, you are being elitist because you often don’t even bother giving it a chance. I used to do this too, when I moved to Tennessee my favorite band was Limp Bizkit. Nuff said. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written of bands people have suggested to me because it was too weird or stupid or just senseless noise. Now those are the bands that get the most listens from me. Animal Collective has become one of my favorite bands. I think Man Man is the shit. Yeasayer and The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-la-la Band are two of the greatest concerts I have ever been to. So yeah. That is my .02

    • hahaha corey I think we need to get you a blog of your own!

      I’m just kidding man. No I totally know what you mean in regards to not being able to relate to the music that comes on top 40 radio because I feel very similarly. Also, I think that carson (or anyone else) would be very justified in calling me an elitist over my views just as much as I call them an elitist over theirs. I think that the only difference is the overall attitude that I think I’ve noticed in the culture. When I use the term elitist in reference to the indie rock scene, I’m mostly referring to those who refuse to accept the fact that the mainstream might get it right every once in a while. No one can be expected to enjoy or even appreciate all types of music. The difference for me is the mentality people maintain towards music they don’t appreciate. For instance, the indie rock scene (as a whole) may look down on Garth Brooks because he’s a hillbilly with a guitar, therefore inferior. Whereas your stereotypical sorority girl may look down on man man because she doesn’t understand them. I know that I just tried to make a point out of two very broad generalizations, but I think you get the point. Either way, I chose the indie rockers because I know the most about them but I could have just as easily chosen any other musical genre and following. My point is that we need to learn to not bash others taste in music just because it’s different. Even though Lady Gaga may seem like a psycho bitch to me, her words are poetry to many others.

      thanks corey, I really appreciate your input. Please keep commenting in your fashion.

  11. If you really want to educate yourself about country music [or “real country” as my dad would say], look at the old 50’s and 60’s songs and artists. George Jones’ [Bradley Barn Sessions] recording of “Where Grass Won’t Grow” is so poetic and gorgeous–I promise you’ll at least appreciate the story. Merle Haggard’s “Farmer’s Daughter” is also fantastic. Played it at my sister’s wedding 😉 Great blog entry! Enjoyed your humor, too.

    • So I listened to the song and I really enjoyed it. I must say it was quite a change from the typical glitz and glam of modern music. I had a hard time paying attention just because of the drastic difference between the quality of a 60’s recording and the quality of a 2000’s recording. It was good though and I do need to listen to more older country because I’ve heard it has some of the best storytelling.

  12. I have been a huge fan of country music since I was 14 and i’m glad I chanced upon your post. It has been puzzling me for 6 years now that i’m 20 and even still, I wasn’t exactly able to figure out why others my age did not appreciate this genre AT ALL. My best friend herself is into indie and electro- rock/pop, and being the artist that she is, I figured it had something to do with having artistic inclinations. As for me, things kept simple are most beautiful.

    thanks!

  13. Hey if you want to listen to good country music without losing quality sound and lyrics, try Justin Townes Earle, Those Darlins, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, and I will even be a shameless promoter and say Caitlin Rose.

  14. Dude, your post sucks, and I’ll tell you why I think so, but first I’ll say that I’ve called others and been called “music snob”. I understand that transition from “oh my God you don’t know GRIZZLY BEAR” to “wow I never thought I would really like Kelly Clarkson, but I totally do.” And really, it’s all in perspective. For me, Ryan Lindsey, She & Him, and Midlake end up on mixes as often as Jay Z, Dixie Chicks or Coldplay. I do think that it’s shows a lack of taste when someone says they like “everything” because it shows that either they haven’t done enough exploring into the immeasurable world of music to find something that doesn’t really float their boat (Does someone who is in love with MGMT and Britney Spears truly hold the Armenian pop artist Armenchik in the same esteem?) or they have no ability to differentiate between different types of musical language and can’t find something that really speaks to them.

    That’s not to say that someone shouldn’t like whatever it is they like. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures when it comes to culture (unless of course your pleasure hurts someone) because if you like something then you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. If Jordin Sparks is your jam, awesome. If you can’t get enough of Maroon 5, get it. But I can’t have a conversation about the merits and joys of music if a person has no idea what they like and don’t like and why.

    But the point I really wanted to make is that, dude, you seem like a jerk. I realize that you are trying to fight back for the people regarded as “simple” because they like simple music. I agree that there is merit to simple things; for example, church hymns generally have simple structure and lyrics, but many such songs sustain people in dark times.

    However, you spend a significant portion of this post berating people who you consider “musical elitists”. You say you used to be one, but you speak as though magically you’ve arrived at some better place. You look back at the elitists you’ve left with disdain instead of humility. You tell people that they are “too concerned with their own image”, but YOUR SPEND THIS ENTIRE POST TRYING TO PROVE YOUR OWN IMAGE, that of someone who so righteously accepts his love for Lady Gaga and Kenny Chesney. How incredibly noble of you.

    The truth is you’re just as much a part of the pack as ever. All “indie culture” is headed the way your headed. Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, TV on the Radio, Sigur Ros, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are ending up on the same ‘best of’ lists as Britney Spears, Outkast, Brad Paisley, Shakira and Jay-Z (see NPR’s best recordings of the decade list, or Rolling Stone’s Best of 2008, etc, etc). And since the rest of American culture has officially caught up with the indie music thanks to Garden State, Wes Anderson, The O.C., and Grey’s Anatomy, many people just like you are trying to figure out they you can continue to stay on top of musical taste by saying that they have received enlightenment, now like those simple things, and can condemn the horrid creatures that they once were themselves, those damned “elitists”.

    Well, congratulations on realizing that you like things that you thought you wouldn’t. But you’re behind the curve. So give up trying to assert your musical prowess. Give people a break. Instead of berating them, try offering them some of those great tracks you’ve recently enjoyed from the top 100. Try some humility. Or to quote you, “Get over yourself.”

    • Keeping with the spirit of the blog I find it necessary to point out that you are being a bit of a hypocrite with this comment. YOU spend your entire comment berating him for expressing his opinion, you write that his blog sucks and so forth and so on. How is this any different than hating on someone for the music they listen to? It’s his blog and his opinion, key word there being opinion. If you don’t agree with what he has to say then great! Good for you, but what expertise do you hold to be able to tell someone that an opinion they hold sucks? You can respectfully disagree and state your point but telling them it sucks is hardly constructive criticism. The sad thing is I agree with a lot of the points you made but ultimately you just come off as a dick.

      So I’m going to offer you some of your own advice, give up trying to assert your blogging prowess. Give people a break. Instead of berating them, try offering them some constructive criticism rather than calling them names. Try some humility. Or to quote you both, “Get over yourself.”

      All the best. b’-‘d

  15. Music elitists or music snobbery is something that everyone goes through and eventually grows out of. Unfortunately some people take a longer time to grow out of the phase.

  16. Ah, you have much to learn, grasshopper.

    Simple words aren’t difficult to write, simple words are difficult to write if you have never written simple words.

    Dylan wrote about suffering, he wrote about political discord and anger, he wrote about being a good man in a bad world.

    There is no such thing as musical elitism. None. There are simply people that like music, and some are more open minded than others. Your calling people names because they call you names is silly…

    but understandable, you are after all only human.

    I’m a musician and I listen to everything. From Travis Tritt and Chet Atkins, to Slayer and Metallica, To Biz Markie and KRS-ONE, to Mozart and Bach, to Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. If you are a musician and you don’t listen to everything, keep an open mind about music, you lose a lot of potential musical inspiration.

    Try not to put people down because they listen to only one kind of music, regardless of what they say. Why? If you do what are you doing?

    Putting people down.

    Never the right thing to do, but you are learning, as are we all.

    Have a good one.

    • I have to respectfully disagree. While I can see your point about the unnecessary use of the word, “elitism” (then again, what else are we going to call it when one person refuses to listen music outside of very specific genres just because that is not the music he listens to?), when it comes to musical tastes, I do not think he was putting people down. Rather, he was encouraging them to remove preconceived notions about music. Sure, some of it may have seemed harsh, but in all reality sometimes strong words are needed (in the same way that violent actions are needed to wake heavy sleepers).

      He was not just “putting people down.” He never disqualifies a person because of the music they do like, but rather criticizes people for sticking to one specific set of music. If a person only listens to one type of music, saying they should try more is only natural, and if they refuse to try more, than what more appropriate term is there than “elitist?” Now, he never says they NEEDED to like more than one type of music, but rather that they should not be afraid to try more.

      • “what else are we going to call it when one person refuses to listen music outside of very specific genres just because that is not the music he listens to?”

        Personal tastes. Other judge, doesn’t mean we have to. We cool.

        “He never disqualifies a person because of the music they do like, but rather criticizes people for sticking to one specific set of music.”

        This is a good thing to do? Sounds… well…

        If you want to listen to 1 type or 100 types of music, tis of no consequence in general, BUT when you place a value judgment on music (or anything to be honest) insofar as what and how and why people listen, you begin to place people on pedestals, some being deemed better (with you on top, generally) because they like one style, or a variety of them, and some people are deemed lesser because they don’t meet your standards, are you are venturing deep into the land of elitism.

        His “Get over yourself” is more than just a critique, tis extremely elitist, very much “My tastes are better than yours”

        It’s real simple. Listen to what you like. Screw what other people say. Tastes be damned!! Enjoy the music! That’s what it’s there for!

        🙂 Damn I’m getting wordy in my old age. LOL

  17. Great post. Putting aside the subject of music, I’m glad to read about someone who is rising above the cloud of self proclaimed elitism. Hopefully others reading will wonder what else they are missing besides country music (of which I am a big fan) because they have tied themselves so closely to a perception rather than a reality.

  18. Kanye West should read your blog, and the biography of
    HanK Williams. Then he should listen to the 1961
    masterpiece by Ray Charles “Modern Sounds of
    Country Nusic” and 2006 “Nashville” by Solomon
    Burke.

    Country music is every bit an integral part of the
    American Cultural fabric as Rock and Roll, R& B,
    Blues, Jazz, Metal, Punk or Rap is.

    • I think there are probably a lot of things Kanye West should read. But I must say that I really do love his music. Now if only he’d leave Taylor Swift alone…

  19. I’m not really into country music… I can say that much.

    It’s funny, because I’m listening to The Decemberists right now, who sort of sold themselves out to be “pop-indie.” I still love them, listen to them all the time…

  20. I enjoyed reading this post and how you used country music as an example for something much more complicated to define or pigeon hole. There is nothing new under the sun my friend and there never will be.

  21. Great read. I fell in love with Country about 10 years ago when my Wife (now ex) introduced me to it.

    Most of it, NOT all of it is the story telling variety that i enjoy. Stuff you can relate to.

    Thanks for the writeup!

  22. Pingback: Thought I would share this… « the lone mizer·

  23. Very interesting stuff man. And there is why your blog was on top today. It’s because its good shit!! Well written and well done sir!

  24. Word. Porter Wagoner, Waylon Jennings, and Gram Parsons are the shit. Oh yeah and Johnny Cash, the greatest American performer ever.

  25. I’m glad someone said it. My teenager self discovered that country music can be, and is often a genuine, beautiful thing. I learned that in English class one year, when we were learning about poetry. I forget what song or which artist wrote the lyrics, but they were not something that you could read and ignore how it stands out to you. The only way would be to shut your eyes and continue to be ignorant of music in certain categories. Maybe it’s just our generation growing up if some of us start to open our minds to worlds that we previously shunned for some reason that we don’t know or remember.

  26. so i got a random text from elise a week or so ago asking if i liked twilight, to which i replied “duh” and she went on to explain that she was having a conversation with santos and he asked if she knew any smart people who liked twilight and she said “i’m pretty sure emily does” to which santos replied “yeah, but that’s because emily likes EVERYTHING.”

    which is exactly how i feel about you, j. 🙂

    and honestly that’s one my favorite things about you and me. what’s the harm in liking things that make you happy? i’m currently having mad crushes on jesse mccartney and lady gaga. i’m also rereading all 759 pages of the seventh harry potter book just for fun. there’s too much hate in this world – love as much as you can.

    except nickelback. 😉

  27. I initially read this because country music is my favorite genre and everyone loves to be validated.

    But, I’m glad I read it because you are an interesting writer and you had me at . . .

    “But hold on to your fixed gear bikes and cheap cigarettes because I’m not done!”

    I love that kind of talk. Thank you for a good read.

  28. I’ll give you this much: Clap Your Hand Say Yeah DOES suck. And while I will give John Mayer kudos for his amazing songwriting, I believe those qualities are canceled out due to his more-amazing douchebaggery.

    Now..on to the country music. Sorry but I still can’t see how anyone listens to this. The majority of popular country musicians have gone the pop-country route and that, as a genre in itself, is a joke. And those that stuck behind to root out original country are only GQ Cowboy mockeries of what country music once was. I think it is safe to say that the last actual country artist to really contribute to the genre was Alan Jackson and that’s stretching it a bit. (I will also admit here that I do like Dwight Yokham). But as far as I’m concerned, the moment “Honky Tonk Bodonkadunk” was released, country music had the life support plug pulled. That cheesy generic patriotic nonsense that every country artist pulled from their rears post 9/11 didn’t help either.

    Just my 2 cents. I must also disagree about not listening to the iTunes top 100 because of image. Frankly, I don’t listen to it because 90% of it is terrible…recycled garbage from last year’s garbage. And when I do manage to get excited about where an artist is going (ie; Black Eyed Peas, Lady GaGa), they always disappoint…besides, I don’t think I will EVER be able to take Black Eyed Peas seriously because of “My Humps”.

    In closing…I like Explosions in the Sky, Brian Eno, Portishead, and Proem. I loathe Nickelback, Jamie Fox and Three Doors Down. I don’t understand how I am an elitist for feeling this way.

    BTW, this is the first time I read your blog and I like it quite a bit. Keep up the great work.

    • Hey thanks for reading! I hope you come back and check up on my blog more often. Thanks for the great comment btw, here’s some food for thought.

      You say the majority of country artists have gone “pop-country” well I’ve heard several people say this and I still don’t quite understand it. Don’t get me wrong, I get the point, but when an entire genre changes the way that it functions it’s usually viewed as a change in musical culture as opposed to selling out (you didn’t use the term “sell out” but I think you implied it). I do agree that there is a lot of what I consider to be bad country out there, but I don’t think that everything that’s been written within the past 10 years can be written off as “cheesy generic patriotic nonsense.” Now I do see your point that there is music out there that you and I don’t appreciate, but apparently lots of other people really enjoy it. Also, I hope this doesn’t come off as offensive, but in my personal opinion, people love to pine after the “good ole days” of music when they don’t really enjoy the genre. For instance, I know several people who are all about “old school hip hop” who maybe know one or two old hip hop artists. They also refuse to give anything a chance that’s played on the radio. I’m not saying that you fall into this genre, but I think that it’s easy to write off an entire genre based on an idea that isn’t always accurate. I would also say that you’re not an elitist for liking what you like, but rather you might be if you think that other people’s opinions aren’t as valid as yours because they don’t align with your own. Thanks for reading, I really appreciate your insight.

  29. Man this really hit a vein in some people.
    I was especially drawn to your post by going through a similar internal awakening some years ago. Back in 2000 my boyfriend and I moved to FLA from the northeast. We had our fair share of pretension, him being a phila punk scenester and me being his ever devoted indie rock princess. We realized real fast that living in the backwoods of FLA didnt offer alot of opportunity to posture our hipster cred.
    I took a job at an upstart internet company and worked in an office full of ladies who may have driven through Athens GA but certainly weren’t privy to the combustible music scene at the time. One day one of my friendlier co- workers dropped an Alan Jackson cd on my desk and said she was gonna make a country girl out of me yet. I figured I would give it a shot and before I knew it I was daydreaming about big skies and front porches, it was liberating. It opened up a whole new world of music to me. I couldnt agree more about the beautiful simplicity in country, it just is what it is like it or leave it. There is no more powerful message than one said simply and without pretense.

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