Country Music Goes Pop Pop Pop!
Why would anybody put effort into creating something that could make “country music” even stronger than it already is? We all know country is the new pop. When pop went awful, its ugly stepchild “Country” was ready to take over. And, boy, did it!!
Here’s how country could be doing far better than it even is now: Country music is on a mission to take over the world!
There are many of us that would like to spend more time listening to songs with that country feel but something gets in the way. Is it all the over-produced slick sounding new country… unashamedly using instrumental musicians that would have been playing in the more classic rock bands or other rock bands if country hadn’t become so successful?
Today’s country sound is certainly something mutated between rock and country. There’s no question about that. Country changed so it could be adopted by a much larger audience…. an audience that didn’t want to give up that rock feel completely. However, there’s the lack of unique singers.
There are many country artists only copying almost exactly what their other contemporaries are doing. That’s doesn’t cut it for many of us looking for more from today’s country music. And that’s what has been happening in pop for years now. The record companies say “It’s not broken why fix it”…nothing new, nothing daring from them. The mass communication companies have already proven they can control everything….control what people learn to like, where to look for everything, what to think is cool, ..on and on. One corporation can own the critical TV stations, the record companies, HTV, MTV, music magazines, websites, …etc, that influence all music and entertainment choices. Oops, have we just described Sony?
So how about if we try something different? This would have to probably be a satellite station. Yes, I said it. What follows is not “country”, is not rock, and sure ain’t anything that’s ever been done before to this degree and been given a fair chance to succeed. Timing is everything and with the new technology, it could just work… maybe, maybe.
Of course, it would have to be a mix of vintage country, country rock, country from the 70’s and early 80’s and current country music. We’re talking going from Ray Price’s “Heartaches by the Numbers” to the Eagles “Take It Easy”, to something up-tempo from “Rascal Flats”, Brad Paisley or Keith Urban. How about Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places” to Jerry Jeff Walkers “Mr. Bojangles”? We’re not talking anything that tax listener’s brains at all. Alabama’s “Mountain Music” to Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line”. Something from Reba’s more rockin’ repertoire to Don Williams “Tulsa Time” to almost anything by the Sun artists… preferably Roy Orbison, Elvis or Jerry Lee Lewis, to the better Blake Shelton songs.
All other regions have local bands they think are special. Seattle had country-rock groups Lance Romance and Lucky Pierre. The right cuts could work. Even Seattle’s Mark O’Connor, a Grammy-nominated bluegrass fiddle player could fit in next to a Charlie Daniel’s cut.
Others could include John Prine, Steve Goodman, Marshall Tucker, Flying Burrito Brothers, Buffalo Springfield, anything from Nashville Skyline, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, some Bonnie Raitt, Roseanne Cash, Carlene Carter, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Everly Brothers, Charlie Daniels, Poco, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings (some better outlaw-era earlier recordings) , John David Souther, Linda Ronstadt “Willin’”, etc, Lowell George, some Randy Travis and more. I can easily come up with a list of more contemporary singers. I like Jerry Douglas from Texas a lot, and of course Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Again, we try to do mostly songs people have heard of or something like it from the same artists. This type of thing has been tried before but on commercial radio stations and so forth where the listeners don’t want any surprises, and expect wall-to-wall sameness. That’s the wrong outlet to try this idea. As they say, “It’s all about the feel”. It has to be the right songs, a good flow, and the right selected artists and groups. I know, it’s all been said before… but…
Much of the above is not an incredibly new idea. It has to be tested correctly. Being a 36 year radio veteran, I know it’s sure not going to be a commercial, run-for-profit radio station. There are non-profit stations that air similar 3 hour shows dedicated to the ideas described here. Syndication?… I don’t know. We’d need a sharp broadcaster with money or money behind them to agree with this particular approach and have the guts to go for it.
Our visionaries that help get this approach off the ground will certainly not be found in anything that’s been done before. It’s a somewhat new idea, new music mix, and would generate more money for whoever signs up for the ride.
There I said it… it’s out there… Bueller… Bueller?