I woke up this morning thinking about the state of country music — you know, the country music that most of us are all currently listening to on our local radio stations? There is no doubt that country music has drastically changed in the last couple of years. There are a number of newcomers, a fresh new sound, lyrical content has totally shifted (less story-telling) and you see mainstream country music flooded with male artists (where are all the women at?).
The emergence of the infamous sub genre in country music, “bro-country,” has rocked the country music world and in part is the reason for the above mentioned changes in mainstream country music. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m one of bro-country’s biggest fans and I without a doubt think there is a place for it in country music today. Personally, I love country and I love rock. The mix of traditional country and bro-country on country radio is perfect for me. But if I’m going to be completely honest, we need that traditional sound to come back and share in the same spotlight. Although, within the last couple of years country radio has geared more towards the “bro” side of country and more away from the traditional, I strongly believe that that traditional country music sound and lyrical content we’re all used to hearing is coming back around. Just look at the Billboard Country Airplay chart right now. You’ve got Eric Church‘s “Give Me Back My Hometown“, Luke Bryan‘s “Play It Again“, Miranda Lambert‘s “Automatic“, Rascal Flatts‘ “Rewind” and Keith Urban‘s “Cop Car” all making up the Top 10. None of which fall under the term, “bro-country”. This is a good sign and, to me, shows country music is heading in a better direction in this department.
Bro-country aside, let’s take a look at the concerning lack of female artists in mainstream country music. The current Billboard Country Airplay chart hosts Miranda Lambert as the only solo female artist in the Top 15. Sara Evans comes in at No. 17 with “Slow Me Down“, but that makes for only two females in the Top 30. Let me repeat. There are only TWO solo female artists on the Billboard Country Airplay Top 30 right now. That, to me, seems to be a bigger problem than the flooding of “bro-country” (if you even think it’s a problem). And the worst part about it is, for all the talk about the lack of female artists in mainstream country music, I don’t see anyone doing anything about it. Record labels sure aren’t pushing any female artists that I’m aware of. And it’s blatantly apparent from just listening to your local country radio. This is a HUGE problem.
So what’s the main problem here? “Bro-country” or the lack of “bra-country”? In my opinion, there’s no question. The main problem is a lack of women in country music at this point. From this moment on, I extend a warm invitation to all the country music blogs out there. Let’s do something about this. Instead of putting time and effort into dogging something you don’t like such as “bro-country”, let’s spend more time on promoting what NEEDS promoting and NEEDS our help. “Bro-country” will fade out a little on its own, not completely, but enough to make way for traditional country to make a comeback and for both to play on the same field (the way it should be). So let’s forget about that. What we all can agree on is that women in country music are not being played and paid attention to nearly enough. Let’s all make a push for women in country music. Start writing about your favorites. Let’s hear about those up and comers. If Miranda Lambert’s new album Platinum is awesomely awesome, F–‘n write about it! Share it. Push the hell out of that story.
We’re the media.
We have the voice.
We can influence the sound of mainstream country music.
We really can.
I’m going to do my part. Will you?