What in the Sam Hill has happened to our country? No, I’m not referring to the mass shootings that seem to occur weekly, or the wicked priests preying on young boys. I’m not even talking about the pompous polecat on Pennsylvania Avenue or the 3-ring circus under the dome. What I am griping about today is what has happened to country music over the past few years.
Newcomers have invaded Nashville and are singing stuff that sounds more like bubblegum music than country music. Some of these new kids seem to be straight outta Compton instead of out in Luckenbach, Texas. So many new songs are a strange concoction of rap and teenybopper pop with just a hint of country music sprinkled on top. I know Hank Williams tosses in his grave every time that country rap is played on the radio.
Some of the new artists, and I use that term lightly, are so far from country music that there’s no seeing Texas in their rearview mirror. If you think Sam Hunt is a country music singer, then I have some Ocean Front Property in Arizona for you. Some of these Johnny-come-latelies have made some money with their music, but it dang sure ain’t real Cash.
Oh, maybe I’m just old and set in my ways. I’ve been listening to country music for over 50 years, back when country wasn’t cool. The only rap in country music back in the 70s was when you had a scratch on your vinyl record. The stuff they play these days on some country radio stations make me lonesome, on’ry and mean. Personally, I’d much rather spend time seeing Alabama than listening to that crap across the Florida Georgia Line.
I reckon these new kids on the block are popular among the younger generation who never heard of the Coalminer’s Daughter, Bosephus and the Possum. Kids today may think Twitty is what you do on your phone after pressing the # button. Ask some youngsters who Glen Campbell is and they’ll likely say he invented chicken soup.
Perhaps I can give some fatherly advice to some young singer who dreams of being a big country star. As soon as you set foot in Nashville, go Strait and head to Church, and thank God you’re a country boy. Go to the Grand Ole Opry and take the grand tour. Take Pride in your work and walk the line. If you slip and fall into the Whiskey River, climb out and get back on the road again. As you are walkin’ after midnight, believing you’re the king of the road, think of all the country legends who paved the way. Ask yourself, “Who’s gonna fill their shoes?”
Unless you want to get on the fightin’ side of me, steer away from those new country performers who have committed murder on Music Row. Join the Country Club and enjoy the dance. Sing to a good hearted woman until the party’s over, but remember the Golden Rule: If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band.
If you happen to catch all the phrases in Clint Younts’ column, then you must be a youthful elder.