Nashville Country: Voices from the Trenches
I read quite a few country music blogs and lately I’ve seen a lot of posts that complain about the current state of country music coming out of Nashville. I’ve written quite a bit about this myself and more often than not the subject has come up in interviews I’ve conducted with different bands and artists. Here are some of the memorable things they have had to say about it.
Jim Dalton from The Railbenders
You know, the thing about Nashville is that there is the music that you hear on the radio which is the contemporary, pop, mainstream stuff but there’s this scene in all the honky tonks that still play the traditional music and that’s where we play—right on Broadway in the honky tonks.
Jackson Taylor from Jackson Taylor & The Sinners:
I had a couple of publishing deals in Nashville. I wrote for Dewayne Blackwell (Garth Brooks, The Dance) and Rich Fagan and Tom Oteri at Of Music (Hank Jr., George Jones) from 1997 to 1999 but I never had any cuts. I liked Nashville a lot. People get the wrong idea because of my song, “Country Song,”
This ain’t no country song/about your fucking pickup trucks and your grandpappy’s farm/This ain’t no Nashville scene/I ain’t no spikey-haired, half-assed pop star wannabe
but it’s really that I never cared for manufactured music of any kind. That’s why I like punk music so much because punk music for the most part, in it’s rawest form, is honest, even if it’s bad, at least it’s honest. That’s the way country music used to be. Now it’s fucking teenage girl music.
One thing I think Nashville is really missing out on with these Taylor Swift’s. You got these 19-year-old girls telling me about life. Maybe that’s good for my daughter but I don’t want to hear it. But because of that there’s this whole marketplace that’s kind of being ignored even though they have that disposable income because Nashville tends to be so youth oriented. But there are a lot of kids coming up now who are the sons and daughters of people who grew up on Merle or George Strait that want to hear that type of music or some offshoot of it. I think in that respect Nashville is always missing the mark.
Who would I be to say they don’t have a right to that kind of music? I mean they have a right to that just as much as we do to what we like. There’s room for all of it and there are fans for all of it. The thing that kills me about the kind of music we like is that it’s just repressed, it’s not given as many avenues as pop country and that just comes down to money.
Reid Cain from Red Eye Junction:
People will say, I hate country music but I like you guys. I’m like, you hate what’s on the radio. You like country music, you just don’t know there is a difference. We’re a country band, it drives me crazy to have to quantify it all the time. We don’t play Honky Tonk, we don’t play Americana, we don’t play Roots, we play Country and Western, there’s a whole proud tradition behind it. I say, country music, and people just change the channel. I say Honky Tonk they’re like, “wow cool.” It’s rough. Thank you, Nashville.