There are two main Country stations where I live, and both of them are parts of giant national corporations. I have noticed a trend in their play list which is weakening Country Music the same way that the Tea Party is weakening the Republican Party--its playing to an ever diminishing "base" of older white men.
They are edging out women. Country Music has a long history of strong women singers. From Patsy Kline to Rita to, yes--even the Dixie Chicks. Women are not powerless in Country Music. They have great songs about empowered women taking usually bloody revenge on the men who wrong them, or standing up for themselves, etc.
I've spent hours listening to these country stations and have heard only 2 women singers. One sings about how great things were in the good old days (Automatic) before Email and Automatic Transmissions. This is great for that "Older" crowd, and many Country songs seem to reflect this sentiment as if going for that older audience. The other is about a woman who spend all her life savings getting drunk with another women, and waking up the next morning after "Something bad" has happened.
Every other song is sung by male artists, and the vast majority of them are about hot, sexy women having hot sex with the guys.
And more and more often, the way the guy gets into the girl's pants is by getting her drunk. Songs like "Get your shine on" where shine is moonshine, and "I hope you are lonely" where he is hoping his ex gets drunk and lonely so they can have sex, seem to glorify the idea that having sex with a passed out drunk woman is a manly thing.
I know a lot of people who are getting turned off by the testosterone fueled music that has replaced a more broad --bigger tent-- country of only a couple of years ago.
Even the video channels offer other songs, and You Tube is filled with great country artists of both genders, and a wide range of races.
I can't name one country musician who isn't White that is played on the corporate radio.
There used to be songs about vacations to Mexico or the Islands where the people of those places were the center of the songs. The men usually ended up loving the local women of color.
Now its all small town farming communities where the women they love are winners of wet t-shirt contests during vacations to Florida.
The Western has been stripped of Country Western music, because Mexico.
As these corporate stations either push Red State Dreams for political reasons--or purely profit based reasons, and focus only on their presumed base, they are turning off many of their fans, and the artists of color and female gender who will see no profit in being Country stars unless they are young white men singing about drunk sexy women to excite old white men.
Posts: 1853 | Registered: Feb 2003
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It's probably indicative of larger trends in Country music. Those of us who listen to Rock are feeling similar things.
Folk music is really good, right now. A lot of lady singers, fiddles, and a more Country edge. Have you heard the Carolina Chocolate Drops?
Unfortunately, NPR is the only station that plays anything that far outside of mainstream. But they do, occasionally. That's how I found out about Jason Isbell. His solo stuff is worlds better than when he's singing for the Drive By Truckers.
Posts: 647 | Registered: Nov 2008
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Yeah, a big corporation is going to do what sells, above all other things. It'll cater to the people who still turn the radio on for music and commercials.
My little no-frills automobile has an am/fm radio only, but I keep it pegged to NPR save for when NPR is playing something like, ahem, old country music, in which case I switch to the classic rock station.
I do the Spotify thing for my music. I haven't listened to anything approaching a top 40 station in many, many years.
Posts: 5898 | Registered: Oct 2001
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