Country music is evolving, there is no doubt. Many critics have recently spoken out against mainstream country. Many more are requesting the songs. The music has become a melting pot of traditional country, pop, hick hop, and more. Legendary country singer, Keith Urban gives his 2 cents to Rolling Stone…
Country is like a town, and you can’t just waltz into the town wearing something no one else is wearing, speak like no one else is speaking with a hairstyle no one else has got, and expect that they’ll embrace you. It’s not going to happen. It’s not the streets of Paris. But country has an incredible history of knowing how to slowly absorb new elements to keep it evolving and moving at a particular pace that works for it. There will always be an artist that comes in and pushes the boundaries, like Eric Church’s “Outsiders,” but you know, for its time, right now it’s really the equivalent of Shania Twain’s midriff or Billy Ray Cyrus’ sneakers or Chet Atkins putting strings on a session. All these things come along and disrupt the status quo, and we have a new way to create our music.
I was at the CMA Awards. Dean Dillon, a legendary songwriter, was honored that night, and he had his incredible speech that touched upon all the growing conversation and uneasiness about the state of country music right now. He said there’s artists right now playing to thousands and thousands of people in arenas and big venues all over the world, and they’re singing to their generation just as I did. I think when you put it in those terms, there’s nothing more you can say to it. Luke Bryan sings to that generation. Florida Georgia Line sings to that generation. Taylor [Swift] sings to that generation. People ask me what is country music and I always say at the least, it is what’s on country radio at the moment, because if it isn’t, they wouldn’t be playing. You can’t say that’s not country music, because apparently that’s a country station and it’s what they’re playing 24 hours a day. You don’t have to like it 24 hours a day, but you can’t say what it is or what isn’t.
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