Pictured: “Country Music Star” Brantley Gilbert
The CMA Music Festival Special the other night showcased the further slide of a once-proud corner of traditionally white culture.
The performers all look alike: grossly over-tattooed, skinny jeans, ratty T-shirts. Young male country performers may choose between a baseball hat or a cowboy hat, but may not go bare-headed.
The lyrics must all sound alike—a rap-like rattling-off of objects and experiences mean to sound small-town authentic.
They sound something like this:
Hey baby let's put the tailgate down
Let's grab our beers and drink 'em down
We're gonna take our honeys and go to town
It's what we're gonna do, are you down?
Most songs toss in a reference to church on Sunday.
There's a big push for country music to sound like rap, though no corresponding effort that I hear to make rap sound country. As usual, it's whites trying to kiss up to blacks, not the other way around, combined with music executives who disdain white culture. Flipping through the stations down at our barn the other weekend, I couldn't tell if a given station was the country station or the hip-hop station. I settled on rock, instead.
There is some pushback on this trend, at SavingCountryMusic.com but it's obviously not getting any traction in Nashville (or New York).
It's not that the occasional hip-hop influence in a country song sounds so bad, but it's gotten to be more than half the songs. And you despair to think of all the young rural white males who imagine they're cool in the eyes of young urban black males because their music sounds like rap.